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SC Signs First CSP Contract

South Carolina Celebrates Signing of First CSP Contract

Speaking from Newberry County, Richard Coombe, Regional Assistant Chief - East, for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), today echoed Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman in announcing that $41 million in contracts will be awarded to farmers and ranchers in 22 states who will be the first in the nation to participate in the new Conservation Security Program (CSP).

In South Carolina, one of 22 states to participate in this debut program year, NRCS State Conservationist Walter W. Douglas announced that 76 contracts would be awarded to producers in the Saluda River watershed. Total acreage enrolled in the program in South Carolina was over 20,000. Land uses included cropland, irrigated cropland, and pasture.

Speaking from John Long’s farm in Newberry, South Carolina, Douglas said that producers would receive between $500-$32,000 (over a ten year period) for a broad range of conservation work that is protecting and enhancing natural resources including water quality, soil quality and wildlife habitat.

A signing ceremony was held at Long’s farming operation to celebrate the signing of the first CSP contract in the state.

The applicants will be participating on three different tiers reflecting both their documented historical conservation management as well as their agreement to do additional practices to further enhance the environment.

“All successful applicants have achieved high technical standards for protecting soil and water quality,” said Douglas. “These are model conservationists who we can point to as our first line of defense in managing ecosystems like the Saluda River Watershed with both productivity and careful stewardship as twin goals.”

While conservation incentive programs and technical assistance from NRCS date back to the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, CSP represents the first time agricultural producers are being paid for ongoing stewardship.