Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program Due Jan. 17
Popular Farm Bill conservation program seeks producer participation
SPOKANE, WA (Dec. 10, 2013) –The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced the beginning of the fiscal year 2014 enrollment period for the Conservation Stewardship Program for 2014. Now through January 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program may submit applications to NRCS.
“Through the CSP, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are going the extra mile to install innovative conservation practices on their lands,” NRCS State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the Door said. “With their additional conservation actions, landowners are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable now and into the future.”
CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards take their natural resource management to the next level to improve both agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.
Rides at the Door said the announcement is another example of USDA's comprehensive focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Farm Bill is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSPis now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.
The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. With CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.
Some popular enhancements used by farmers and ranchers include:
Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and making sure pesticides are used where they are most needed;
Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped;
Continuous no-till systems; and
Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.
Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.
To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.
Any applicant using an Employer Identification Number, or EIN, taxpayer number to receive payments must have an active and current registration in the federal System for Award Management at www.sam.gov prior to applying for participation in NRCS programs, and to remain eligible for payments under a funded contract.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.
Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website or a local NRCS field office.
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