Conservation Stewardship Program Applications Due by June 14
Annapolis, Md., May 30, 2013– The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide about $1 million in funding this year for Maryland farmers and forest landowners to improve the natural resources on their land through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Although applications are accepted all year, producers interested in CSP should submit applications by June 14 to their local NRCS office to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding. The deadline was extended from May 31.
The voluntary program allows producers to go the extra mile in conserving natural resources while also maintaining or increasing the productivity of their operations.
“CSP is different than our other financial assistance programs,” said NRCS Maryland Acting State Conservationist Deena Wheby. “It offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. It’s about conservation activities on the entire operation, focusing on multiple resource concerns.”
Many of the CSP enhancements improve soil quality, which helps land become more resilient to extreme weather and protects water quality. Because of the extreme weather in 2012 and Maryland’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, an interest and participation in no-till and cover crop enhancements is expected this year, according to NRCS experts. Nitrification and urease inhibitors, fertilizer additives that slow the release of nitrate until it can be used by crops, is another enhancement of interest to Maryland producers.
Several other improvements are available for producers, including intensive rotational grazing, intercropping and wildlife friendly fencing.
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.
For the checklist and additional information, visit the NRCS Maryland website
(http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/md/home/) or visit your local USDA NRCS office. USDA service center locations are listed online at http://offices.usda.gov or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture.