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News Release

First Participants in Conservation Stewardship Program Can Renew for Five More Years

Indianapolis, IN, June 24, 2014 – Producers with expiring U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts have until Sept. 12, 2014 to renew and adjust their conservation plans.

“CSP farmers are conservation leaders and go the extra mile to conserve Indiana’s resources,” said Indiana State Conservationist Jane Hardisty. “The 2014 Farm Bill continued that strong commitment and heightened the program’s focus on generating conservation benefits. This program allows landowners to reach the next level of conservation and opens the door to trying new conservation activities.”

About 300 CSP contracts throughout Indiana are reaching the end of their initial five-year contract period and may be renewed for an additional five years when participants agree to implement additional stewardship practices. 

The program provides opportunities for farmers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them improve water quality and quantity, soil health and wildlife habitat. Renewal applications will be accepted through Sept. 12, 2014. There will also be another signup in fiscal year 2015. 

More than three hundred thousand acres in Indiana were enrolled in the program following the launch of the program in 2009. CSP participants boost their operations’ conservation benefits by installing new conservation activities that make positive changes in soil, water, air quality, and wildlife habitat. 

For example, the program helped Indiana farmers, James and Cindy Newkirk, reduce flooding and improve water quality by converting a frequently flooded, unfertile row crop field into wildlife habitat. 

Through CSP, the Newkirks have created a one acre wetland and one acre pollinator habitat. Next year, they plan on installing a two and one-half acre buffer area of trees near the creek for water quality protection and wildlife habitat which will also add to their woodland area. 

Newkirk Farms has been in James’ family for eight generations so good land stewardship is important to both James and Cindy. They describe the benefits of working with NRCS to develop and implement a well-rounded farmland conservation plan as immeasurable. 

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through CSP, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/programs/financial/csp/. For more on the 2014 Farm Bill, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/FarmBill.

To get started with NRCS, visit your local service center www.in.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/directory/field_offices.html or go to www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.

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Contacts: 
Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist, 317-295-5800 (jane.hardisty@in.usda.gov)
Jerry Roach, ASTC-Farm Bill Programs, 317-295-5820 (jerry.roach@in.usda.gov)  
Kris Vance, Public Affairs Specialist, 317-295-5822 (kris.vance@in.usda.gov)