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News Release

USDA Offers Renewal Options for Expiring Conservation Stewardship Program Contracts

Contact:
Mark Habiger, Assistant State Conservationist
254-742-9881


USDA’s Largest Conservation Program Helps Producers Improve Health, Productivity of Working Lands

Temple, TX, March 31, 2017 – Acting Deputy Agriculture Secretary Michael Young has announced that a contract renewal sign-up is underway for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 80 million acres enrolled.

Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire on Dec. 31 can renew their contract for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by May 5.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) made several updates to the popular program last fall.  These changes help producers better evaluate conservation options that benefit their operations while improving the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.

“The changes made to CSP are providing even greater opportunities for stewardship-minded producers across the country to participate and bring their conservation efforts to a higher level,” said Young.  “The new tools and methods for evaluating operations, expanded options to address the producer’s conservation and business objectives, and the focus on local resource priorities have resulted in a 30 percent increase in applications for this widely popular program.”

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities such as cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, and soil health building activities – all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land. Benefits to producers can include:

  • Improved cattle gains per acre;
  • Increased crop yields;
  • Decreased inputs;
  • Wildlife population improvements; and
  • Better resilience to weather extremes.

Producers interested in contract renewals or applying for CSP for the first time should contact their local USDA service center or visit our CSP webpage.