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News Release

New Conservation Stewardship Program sign-up available for Texas rice producers

Darren Richardson, Acting State Program Manager

Temple, Texas, Feb. 12, 2018 –The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) as part of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) efforts supported by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and assisted by the USA Rice – Ducks Unlimited Stewardship Partnership.

This special RCPP CSP initiative is specifically for Texas rice growers and allots 35,000 acres of CSP in 2018 toward this program. The application deadline is March 2, 2018. All applications must be received by NRCS Field Offices by the deadline date to be considered for this funding cycle. All interested rice producers are encouraged to apply. 

The NRCS CSP assists landowners and rice producers who voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that aim to improve irrigation water management, control sediment and nutrient runoff, and provide waterfowl habitat on rice production lands.

The RCPP CSP project is available for rice production acreage in 12 counties: Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Jackson, Jefferson, Lavaca, Liberty, Matagorda, Waller, and Wharton counties. A special emphasis is placed on Colorado, Wharton, and Matagorda counties.

“The overall CSP offers agricultural producers and forest landowners payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, irrigation water management, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land,” said Texas NRCS State Conservationist Salvador Salinas. “CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.”

John Hofmann, executive vice president of Water at LCRA, said, “We are excited to be working closely with Texas NRCS, Ducks Unlimited and rice producers to increase water supplies for the future. It’s important to not just develop new supplies, but also to implement strong on-farm water conservation practices as we move forward.”

NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres nationally in CSP in 2018. For more information please visit and look for CSP under Farm Bill Programs, contact a local USDA service center or visit