Barbara Phillips, Public Affairs Specialist
Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program due Jan. 17
SOMERSET, Dec. 3, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) opened the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Producers interested in participating in the program should submit applications to NRCS by January 17, 2014 to be considered for funding in 2014.
“New Jersey farmers and forest landowners who are eligible for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) through their conservation activities are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.” said Carrie Mosley, NRCS State Conservationist. “Since this program has been available, we have established five-year CSP contracts with New Jersey farms throughout the state who are receiving an average payment of $7,900 per year.”
CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards take their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits for cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.
CSP, now in its fifth year, emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for more intensive management. 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 New Jersey CSP contract holders have included:
Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed;
Plant tissue testing and analysis to improve nitrogen management;
Use of deep rooted crops to break up soil compaction;
Use of a cover crop mixture that contains two or more plants.
While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. Producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the January 17 closing date to be eligible for this year’s enrollment.
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 CSPby visiting the NRCS websiteor a local NRCS field office.