News Release

Sign Up Underway for Popular Conservation Program

Wade Biddix

Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program Due January 17, 2014

RICHMOND, Dec. 6, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Starting today through January 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.

Virginia State Conservationist Jack Bricker says that “CSP is a win-win proposition for Virginia producers because they can address resource concerns while adding value to their land. The program helps established conservation stewards take natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural and forestry operations and provide valuable conservation benefits such as clean water, healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.”

The CSP program is open to all Virginia farmers and forestry producers who are actively applying conservation practices on their land. Targeted land includes crop-, pasture- and non-industrial private forest land with no restrictions on operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.

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.

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 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.