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News Release

Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program Due Feb. 7

Annapolis, Md., January 10, 2014 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maryland is encouraging producers to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in fiscal year 2014. Now until Feb. 7, 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 Jon Hall. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more profitable, productive and sustainable over the long run.”

The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.

Conservation enhancements in Maryland 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. A complete list of enhancements is available on the NRCS website. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forest land; participants must enroll their entire agricultural operation in CSP.

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through February 7th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.

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 Maryland NRCS website. 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.

Learn more about CSP by visiting the CSP webpage or a local NRCS field office.

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