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News Release

USDA Announces March 26, 2021, Application Deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program

Madison, Wis. ‒ February 23, 2021 ‒ The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding this year is March 26, 2021. Through CSP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers, ranchers 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 Angela Biggs, NRCS state conservationist in Wisconsin. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.”  

Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorize NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from 2020‒2023 and makes additional improvements to the program. Some highlights include the following.

  • NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres.
  • Higher payment rates are now available under the 2018 Farm Bill for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations. 
  • NRCS now provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities through CSP.

While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure their applications are considered for 2021 funding.

About the Program

CSP is offered in Wisconsin through continuous signups. 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 a tribe.  

For additional information about CSP, contact your local service center. USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone, and using online tools whenever possible.

Online services are available to customers with an eAuthentication (eAuth) account, which provides access to the farmers.gov portal where producers can view USDA farm loan information and payments and view and track certain USDA program applications and payments. An eAuth account is a way for you to interact with USDA websites online. It gives you the ability to identify yourself to the USDA via your User ID and password. It permits you to access a wide range of USDA applications across the many USDA agencies and their services. Customers who do not already have an eAuth account can enroll at farmers.gov/sign-in.

All Service Center visitors wishing to conduct business with NRCS, Farm Service Agency, or any other Service Center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

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