Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program Due Jan. 17
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Christy Morgan
Acting Public Affairs Specialist
Popular Farm Bill conservation program seeks producer participation
Lexington, KY, Dec. 3, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Now through January 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.
The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards take their current level of natural resource management to the next level 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.
“CSP encourages landowners who are already implementing conservation on their land to take a comprehensive look at their resource concerns and adopt new conservation activities that can go even further to conserve natural resources and increase the productivity of their operations,” said Jack Kuhn, acting state conservationist for the NRCS in Kentucky.
Kuhn said today's announcement is another example of USDA's comprehensive focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs 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, over 160,000 of those acres are in Kentucky.
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 and ranchers 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;
Burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat; and
Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.
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 January 17, 2014.
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 the NRCS website or a local NRCS field office.
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