The south-eastern United States historically has had severe soil erosion and subsequent surface water quality problems. Many soils have root-restrictive fragipans or are underlain by shallow limestone, sand, or heavy clay. Potential losses in productivity on these soils and the water quality problems from soil erosion would indicate that sustainability was not achieved in the past. The Soil Conservation Service and United States Department of Agriculture Extension Service are responsible for writing farm plans for highly erodible land. From a physiographic perspective, the relatively flatter lands of the coastal plains do not possess as severe an erosion hazard as the broadly sloping lands of the Piedmont and Appalachian plateau. The use of conservation tillage, especially in conjunction with residue and cover crop management, offers one of the best ways to maintain good surface water quality. Potential environmental problems may arise from conservation tillage as a result of increased chemical use and increased percolation to groundwater.