Stewardship Program Offers Payments for Farm and Forest Land Conservation
Madison, Wis…… The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting new applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Farm and forest landowners may apply through June 14 for possible 2013 funding. CSP encourages agricultural producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations.
Applications can be made at any time at all USDA Service Centers, but only applications received by June 14 will be ranked for funding in 2013. The program is open to all farmers, regardless of size or type of operation.
In 2012, 477 Wisconsin farmers and forestland owners enrolled in CSP, with an average payment of $6,415 per contract. Over $3 million in payments will be made to those farm families this year, and over $15 million over the course of the five-year contract.
For many farmers, CSP offers reward and recognition for the conservation they are already doing, plus a little extra incentive to try a few more or new practices. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland, and tribal agricultural lands.
Jimmy Bramblett, NRCS State Conservationist for Wisconsin, encourages interested farmers to apply now to be considered for funding.
“Farmers who are practicing good conservation should act now to take advantage of this great program,” said Bramblett.
For the 2012 sign up, average payments in Wisconsin were $20 per acre for cropland, $14 per acre for pasture, and $4 per acre for woodland. Payments are made annually for each of the five years of the contract. CSP is open to small and large operations, with farms already enrolled ranging from just a couple of acres to over 4,000 acres of cropland.
Farmers will need to document their current and proposed conservation practices which will be used to rank applications and determine payments. NRCS field staff will also conduct on-site field verifications of applicants' information.
For more information, visit www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov , or contact the NRCS office at the USDA Service Center serving your county.