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CSP Sign-up Extension

2008 Conservation Security Program Sign-up Extended

CSP sign-up will run through May 30, 2008

AMHERST, Mass. (May 8, 2008) � U.S. Department of Agriculture�s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that farmers in the Connecticut River and Ashuelot River watersheds will have two additional weeks to apply for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) in fiscal year 2008. The sign-up now ends on May 30, 2008. Originally, the CSP sign-up was scheduled to run from April 18-May 16, 2008.

CSP, a voluntary program, encourages and rewards producers who practice outstanding stewardship on working agricultural land by offering financial incentives that increase with the level of conservation effort. Soil and water quality are the primary focus of this program; however, program goals also include improved wildlife habitat, air quality, and environmentally responsible energy production.

For more information about CSP and eligibility requirements, farmers should contact their local NRCS office: Deborah Weymouth in Cheshire County at the Walpole NRCS Field Office, 11 Industrial Park Drive, Walpole, New Hampshire 03608, 603-756-2988 x113 or go to the Conservation Security Program.

NRCS recognizes the inopportune timing of this year�s sign-up and that farmers are busy in their fields. We want to give them as much time as possible,� NRCS New Hampshire State Conservationist George V. Cleek IV said. �The NRCS national office has extended the sign-up as much as possible to allow producers adequate time to gather natural resource information and complete the required self-assessment and applicant interview. This two-week extension represents the fullest accommodation we can make and deliver a program this year.�

USDA-NRCS began CSP in fiscal year 2004. Currently, there are 331 enrolled watersheds covering nearly 248 million acres eligible for CSP nationwide. These numbers include the 51 watersheds in this fiscal year�s sign-up, which include the Connecticut River watershed in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and the Narragansett Bay watershed in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.