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News Release

Applications for 2020 USDA-NRCS classic Conservation Stewardship Program due by 5/29/2020

Funding helps New Jersey Farmers protect and enhance natural resources

SOMERSET, April 24, 2020 – The current application period for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) will close on May 29,2020. While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by May 29 to ensure their applications are considered for 2020 funding.

Acting State Conservationist Diane Gray said, “The 2018 Farm Bill made several changes to this critical conservation program, which helps agricultural producers take the conservation activities on their farm to the next level.” USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest up to $264 million for new enrollments across the country in fiscal year 2020.

The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from now until 2023, and it makes some important improvements to the program. These updates include:

  • NRCS now enrolls eligible, high ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres. For fiscal 2020, NRCS can spend up to $264 million in the program, which covers part of the cost for producers implementing new conservation activities and maintaining their existing activities.

  • Higher payment rates are now available for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations.

  • CSP now provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities and a special grassland conservation initiative for certain producers who have maintained cropland base acres.

CSP is offered in all 50 states and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups. 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 an Indian tribe.

For additional information about CSP, contact NRCS at your local USDA service center. USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender