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Press Release

USDA Announces Conservation Stewardship Funding Availability in Michigan

Field and high tunnels in Genesee County

NRCS announces a statewide opportunity for Michigan agricultural and forest producers to receive federal funding through the Conservation Stewardship Program. 

EAST LANSING, Jan. 5, 2024The U.S. Department of Agriculture announces a statewide opportunity for Michigan agricultural and forest producers to receive federal funding through the Conservation Stewardship Program. Michigan agricultural and forest producers who wish to be considered for the current funding opportunity should apply at their local USDA Service Center by Feb. 16, 2024.

USDA is increasing the minimum annual payment for agricultural and forest producers participating in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) from $1,500 to $4,000 starting in fiscal year 2024. The increase addresses challenges faced by small scale, underserved, and urban producers and improves equity in the program by making participation more financially beneficial for smaller operations. The new minimum payment is available for new and renewed CSP contracts.

“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 Garry Lee, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Michigan. “Whether you measure your farm in square feet or acres, or you farm in the country or in the middle of the city, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has conservation assistance for you.”

CSP helps farmers and forest landowners to build on their existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operation. CSP participants earn an annual payment for 5 years which enables them to achieve a greater level on conservation and stewardship. Whether participants are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop resiliency, or develop wildlife habitat, NRCS can custom design a CSP plan to help them meet those goals.

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.

New for Fiscal Year 2024, NRCS in Michigan will prioritize funding for CSP practices and enhancements that are suitable for being adopted for small-scale and urban producers. Examples of CSP enhancements that are suitable for being adopted by smaller scale and urban producers could include:

  • Establishing pollinator habitat 
  • Mulching with natural materials 
  • Soil health crop rotation

These enhancements will assist with cultivating, processing, and distributing agricultural products in urban and suburban areas. There’s no minimum agricultural income requirement or agricultural product value requirement for determining land and/or producer eligibility. This funding opportunity will offer activities that are specific to those small-scale producers.

Inflation Reduction Act and CSP

Currently, an unprecedented amount of funding is available for CSP through the Inflation Reduction Act and Farm Bill. Funds are to provide an opportunity for producers to install conservation activities promoting climate-smart agriculture and forestry greenhouse gas mitigation on their agricultural operation. The Inflation Reduction Act provided $19.5 billion in additional funding for oversubscribed programs like CSP for five years.

NRCS recently announced it increased the number of Climate-Smart Agricultural and Forestry Mitigation Activities eligible for Inflation Reduction Act funding for Fiscal Year 2024. A list of climate-smart practices can be found at your local NRCS field office. To learn more, download the list of practices and a fact sheet.

How to Apply

NRCS accepts applications for its conservation programs year-round, but to be considered for funding under this sign up, producers interested in CSP should apply by Feb. 16, 2024. Funding is provided through a competitive process and will include an opportunity to address the unmet demand from producers who have previously sought funding.

For more information about assistance available, contact your local USDA Service Center.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden- Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit