Application period for Conservation Stewardship Program extended to February 7
Gail Bartok, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
SOMERSET, January 9, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the deadline for new enrollments in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for fiscal year 2014. Producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS through February 7, 2014.
“We hope that many New Jersey farmers and forest landowners will take advantage of this extension to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program. Those who are eligible for 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, NRCS has established five-year CSP contracts with New Jersey farms throughout the state who are receiving an average payment of $7,900 per year. The Farm Bill conservation program 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 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.
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. NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, but applicaton deadlines are set to enable application review and contract awards. Applications submitted to NRCS by the February 7 closing date will be evaluated for enrollment in this year’s program.