NRCS Announces Sign-Up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Joseph Bachand, CSP Manager
Applications Will Be Accepted Through June 14, 2013
WARWICK, RI, June 4, 2013 –Nationally, the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Stewardship Program will provide about $175 million in funding for up to 12.6 million additional acres enrollment this year.
Although applications are accepted all year, farmers and forestland owners interested in CSP should submit applications by June 14, 2013 to the local NRCS office to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding.
The voluntary program allows producers to go the extra mile in conserving natural resources while also maintaining or increasing the productivity of their operations.
According to R. Phou Vongkhamdy, NRCS State Conservationist, “CSP is especially applicable to agricultural and forest landowners who have implemented conservation plans on their private lands. Under CSP, participants receive an annual land use payment for the environmental benefits they produce on their operation. Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance - the higher the operational performance, the higher their payment.”
“CSP is different than our other financial assistance programs,” said NRCS Acting Chief Jason Weller. “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.”
Playing a significant part in conserving and improving our nation’s resources, producers enrolled an additional 12.1 million acres in CSP last year, bringing the total number of acres to more than 50 million.
Many of the CSP enhancements improve soil quality, which helps land become more resilient to extreme weather.
Several other improvements are available for producers including establishing pollinator and or beneficial insect habitat, wildlife friendly fencing, and extending riparian forest buffers for water quality protection and wildlife habitat.
Because of the extreme weather in 2012, more interest and participation in the cover crop enhancements is expected this year, according to NRCS experts.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contracts obligations, and potential payments. It is available from local NRCS offices and at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/csp.
For additional information, visit the RI NRCS CSP website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/ri/programs/financial/csp/ or visit your local USDA NRCS office.