Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) application deadline approaching

Interested farmers and ranchers must submit their initial applications to the USDA Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) by February 3, 2017 to be considered for assistance this year. Applicants must fill out a simple form with information on land ownership, type of production, and contact information.

With 70 million acres of land enrolled, CSP is the nation’s largest conservation program. It is built to encourage enhancements to natural resource and environmental protections, while continued production of food, fiber, and energy economically. Farmers enrolled in CSP can earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities such as cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming, while still keeping land in active production.

USDA recently announced some changes to CSP designed to make it more transparent, flexible, and farmer-friendly. These include revising the list of conservation activities for 2017 to include 223 individual conservation enhancements, 74 conservation practices, and 32 bundles of enhancements that are eligible for CSP.  Several conservation bundles are focused specifically on organic agriculture, such as those that focus on bolstering soil health, reducing wind erosion, and preventing water erosion. Additionally, there are organic conservation bundles for pasture and rangeland.

This year, ten million new acres can be enrolled in CSP, and up to 12.8 million acres whose five-year conservation contracts are set to expire are eligible for renewal. Interested farmers and ranchers must submit their initial applications to the USDA Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) by February 3, 2017 to be considered for assistance this year. Applicants must fill out a simple form with information on land ownership, type of production, and contact information.

 

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