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News Release

Indiana NRCS Announces Sign Up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program

Indianapolis, IN, Dec. 4, 2013 – Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Indiana is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new applications. Starting today through January 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to their local NRCS District Conservationist.

“Farmers and forest landowners who enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program are going the extra mile to conserve our Indiana resources,” Hardisty said. “The actions they are taking on their land are making a more productive and sustainable operation over the long run.”

The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps producers who are already practicing good stewardship to take their natural resource management to the next level. The program helps to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.

Today’s announcement is another example of USDA's focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill (commonly referred to as the Farm Bill) is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.

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.

Some popular enhancements used by farmers include:

  • Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed;
  • Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped;
  • Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.

Eligible landowners and operators can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be considered during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.

Learn more about CSP by visiting your local NRCS office or the CSP website http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/programs/financial/csp/. To locate the office near you, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/in/contact/?cid=stelprdb1142523

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Contacts:
Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist, 317.295.5801 (jane.hardisty@in.usda.gov)
Gerald Roach, Assistant State Conservationist, 317.295.5820 (jerry.roach@in.usda.gov)
Rebecca Fletcher, State Public Affairs Specialist, 317.295.5825 (rebecca.fletcher@in.usda.gov)