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News Release

NRCS Extends Sign-Up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)-Applications Accepted Through February 7, 2014

Joseph Bachand
(401) 822-1818

WARWICK, RI,  January 8, 2014– The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is extending the sign up period for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014.  Producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS by February, 7, 2014.

“Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” Rhode Island NRCS State Conservationist R. Phou Vongkhamdy said. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.”

The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.

Vongkhamdy noted that it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.

The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. 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 the CSP in Rhode Island include:

  • Creating forest openings to improve hardwood stands
  • Establish pollinator and/or beneficial insect habitat
  • Managing Riparian buffers for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife habitat, and several others

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through February 7th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.

To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.

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

For additional information, visit the RI NRCS CSP website at or contact your local USDA NRCS office.

Northern Rhode Island Field Office
Serving Providence County
Justin Tuthill, District Conservationist

Eastern Rhode Island Field Office

Serving Bristol and Newport Counties
Melissa Hayden District Conservationist

Southern Rhode Island Field Office

Serving Kent and Washington counties
John Richard, District Conservationist