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News Release

NRCS Provides Financial Assistance for Conservation Stewardship Program

Producers encouraged to sign up by June 14, 2013

DOVER, Del., May 28, 2013 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide approximately $175 million in financial assistance through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). This will allow producers nationwide to enroll an additional 12.6 million acres into CSP for FY 2013.

“Many farmers implement conservation work because of their stewardship ethic, but also recognize that environmental benefits help maintain profitability,” said Paul Petrichenko, Acting Delaware State Conservationist. “CSP exemplifies this concept. It pays those conservation-minded producers to maintain their existing stewardship level and to implement additional enhancements to further improve the natural resources on the land in their operation while maintaining or increasing their profits.”

Although applications are accepted all year, NRCS is encouraging farmers and forestland owners interested in CSP to submit applications by June 14 to their local NRCS office to ensure they are considered for this year's funding.

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 14 CSP contracts totaling $1.4 million over a 5-year contract period on 16,076.6 acres.

CSP is offered in all 50 states, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups.  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.

Click here for Delaware's CSP page.