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News Release

USDA announces sign-up period for updated Conservation Stewardship Program

Contact:
Diane Petit, Public Affairs Specialist
401-822-8843, cell 413-835-1276


Cattle in field

WARWICK, RI, April 29, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that the next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2020 is June 1, 2020. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.

“CSP continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” said R. Phou Vongkhamdy, NRCS Rhode Island State Conservationist. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.”

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, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe.

While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by June 1, 2020, to ensure their applications are considered for 2020 funding.

For more information and to apply, contact your local conservation district or the USDA-NRCS Rhode Island office:

Eastern RI Conservation District
Serving Newport and Bristol counties
401-934-0842

Northern RI Conservation District
Serving Providence County
401-934-0840

Southern RI Conservation District
Serving Kent and Washington counties
401-500-0422

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
60 Quaker Lane, Suite 46
Warwick, RI 02886
www.ri.nrcs.usda.gov
NRCSInfo@ri.usda.gov
401-822-8848

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. NRCS is authorized to accept new CSP enrollments from now until 2023. Some important improvements to the program include:

  • NRCS now enrolls eligible, high ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres.
  • 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 transitioning to organic production activities, and a special grassland conservation initiative for certain producers who have maintained cropland base acres.

NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with conservation districts and the people of Rhode Island to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources.