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Conservation Stewardship Program

  

In Lost Creek, farmer Richard Law knows beef.  He understands how to manage their health in order to have a quality product every time.  He also knows how to save money doing it.

 Law is a proud participant in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which assisted in lowering the financial burden to achieve his goals.

“To me, CSP is the next step to continue what you’ve already done and to build onto it,” Law said.  “I’ve used NRCS programs for division fencing, spring development, manure facilities, pipeline and cistern projects.”

Through the program, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to encourage land owners to improve their current conservation performance by installing and adopting additional practices for improving, maintaining and managing of their existing systems.

“I practice management intensive grazing where my cattle feed on one paddock then move to another in order to give the grass a chance to rest and recover,” Law said.  “This system works for my business as it provides an excellent, quality angus beef while keeping the land healthy.”

 CSP is a voluntary program encouraging agricultural and forestry producers to address resource concerns by adding to their already existing practices.  The program is designed as a comprehensive system where landowners add to what they have and take steps to improve, maintain and manage in effective ways. 

 “Last fall, I installed a well and one watering trough and plan to install more troughs as I divide up my paddocks into smaller grazing sections,” Law said. 

Since 2009, NRCS in West Virginia has awarded more than 750 contractsand obligated more than $6 million to support land owners in creating sustainable resources statewide through the Conservation Stewardship Program.

 Some popular enhancements used by West Virginia farmers and ranchers include:

  • Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed
  • Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped
  • Burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat
  • Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management

Local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round.  Application evaluations only take place during announced ranking periods. For consideration in the 2014 federal fiscal year eligible landowners must enroll by submitting their application no later than February 7, 2014.  

For more specific information or to find a local NRCS office, contact 304-284-7540 or go to http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/wv/home/.