Champaign, IL--Ivan Dozier, Acting State Conservationist for the Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced USDA/NRCS has extended the cut-off date for the current Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) ranking period to January 27, 2012. Previous deadline was January 13th. Producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship are eligible for CSP payments.
“This extension will help ensure that producers who want to be considered for CSP during this first ranking period have the time they need to complete their applications,” Dozier said. “CSP is a very popular program and I encourage interested producers to apply at their local NRCS office as soon as they can.” Dozier acknowledges that agency program sign-up periods are always open--farmers can apply any time--but he hopes to see Illinois producers start the new year off with their application in the front lines for 2012.
“Funding for this program and frankly, current funding for most conservation programs in Illinois looks pretty good. As always, we accept applications continuously. But some folks wait until all the ranking dates are announced and then they rush to get their paperwork in when its spring and they’ve got a million other things to do,” explained Dozier. The simple message: Sign up sooner, not later, for conservation programs this year.
The Conservation Stewardship Program is offered in all 50 states. CSP is a statewide program--available in every county and every watershed. Administered by NRCS, CSP provides many conservation benefits including improved water and soil quality, enhanced wildlife habitat and conservation activities that address important farm and non-farm resource concerns. Signing up for the program does not obligate participants in any way; it simply gets the process started and positions applicants for quicker action.
Producers are encouraged to apply for CSP throughout the year to be considered for current and future application ranking periods. Those who apply by January 27, 2012, may be eligible for current available funding. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland and nonindustrial forestland.