Applications Accepted Now for Conservation Stewardship Program
DOVER, Del., Dec., 10, 2013 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Delaware is encouraging producers to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in fiscal year 2014. Now until January 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS field offices statewide.
“Through CSP, farmers and forest landowners are undertaking additional conservation activities to conserve our nation’s resources,” said NRCS State Conservationist Kasey Taylor. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more profitable, productive and sustainable over the long run.”
Conservation enhancements in Delaware include planting cover crop and cover crop mixes, using deep rooted crops for soil compaction, and leaving standing crops for wildlife, among others that benefit soil and water quality and wildlife habit. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forest land; participants must enroll their entire agricultural operation in CSP.
Limited resource, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers will be ranked in a separate funding pool to increase participation in CSP. All approved contracts in these groups are guaranteed a payment of $1,000 annually and there is no minimum acreage requirement to apply. Landowners working to improve their operation can receive up to $40,000 a year in financial assistance for five years.
Last year, NRCS in Delaware worked with producers to sign 12 CSP contracts totaling $1.2 million over a 5-year contract period on 12,000 acres.
CSP is offered in all 50 states, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas. Sign-up is continuous; however, signing up before the initial deadline of January 17 ensures applicants are considered for this year’s funding.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help potential applicants determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. It is available from local NRCS offices and on the Delaware NRCS Web site. As part of the CSP application process, applicants work with NRCS field personnel to determine their conservation performance, which will be used to determine eligibility, ranking and payments.
To apply for CSP, please contact your local USDA Service Center. In Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext. 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3. Additional information on all NRCS programs and services is available online at www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.