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Press Release

Wisconsin NRCS Offers Big Opportunity for Small-Scale Operations Through the Conservation Stewardship Program

Raised beds

The NRCS is encouraging farmers, agricultural producers and forest landowners in Wisconsin to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program by Feb. 9, 2024, to be considered for funding in 2024.

MADISON, Wis., January 4, 2024 ‒ The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging farmers, agricultural producers and forest landowners in Wisconsin to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) by Feb. 9, 2024, to be considered for funding in 2024. Currently, an unprecedented amount of funding is available through the Farm Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides an additional $19.5 billion in funding for CSP and other oversubscribed NRCS programs. 

The Inflation Reduction Act funding incentivizes producers to adopt climate-smart practices, new technologies and management techniques through CSP, earning payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. With the start of the new fiscal year, the minimum annual payment for CSP participants has been increased from $1,500 to $4,000. This increase aims to address challenges faced by small-scale, underserved, and urban agricultural producers, by making the program more equitable and financially beneficial for smaller operations.

“Increasing the minimum payment to CSP participants regardless of the size of their operation helps to make participation worthwhile for a larger number of producers,” said Josh Odekirk, Acting State Conservationist for Wisconsin NRCS. “CSP is the largest conservation program in the United States and continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals. The addition of Inflation Reduction Act dollars to the program allows NRCS the opportunity to work with even more agricultural and forestry producers.”   

While NRCS program applications are accepted throughout the year, producers interested in CSP should submit their application to their local NRCS office by Feb. 9, 2024, to ensure they are considered for 2024 funding. All eligible applications received by the cutoff will be evaluated and ranked for funding in 2024. Applications are accepted at all USDA Service Centers in Wisconsin.  

About the Program

CSP offers technical and financial assistance to help agricultural and forest producers take their conservation efforts to the next level. The program is designed to compensate agricultural and forest producers who agree to increase their level of conservation by adopting additional conservation activities and maintaining their baseline level of conservation.

Examples of CSP enhancements that are suitable to be adopted by urban, small-scale, and innovative agricultural producers include:

  • Planting multi-species cover crops
  • Mulching with natural materials
  • Establishing pollinator habitats
  • Soil health crop rotation

CSP is offered in Wisconsin through continuous signups. The program provides many benefits including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather extremes. CSP is for working lands including cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a Tribe.  

To learn more about the Conservation Stewardship Program or the financial and technical assistance offered by NRCS, please contact or visit your local USDA Service Center. 

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Additional Information

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