This conservation funding opportunity may be for you

Farmers and ranchers, there’s a great conservation funding opportunity from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) that you can take advantage of.

The NRCS is accepting initial applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) at its local offices and on its website until Feb. 3. CSP is a national program, tailored at the state and local levels to address regional conservation concerns.

Paul Ackley, in Taylor County, Iowa, found that enrolling in this program allowed him to implement conservation practices. On land he rented and owned, he noticed the soil was looking tired after several years of cropping - his beans even turned white in certain places where the soil was particularly depleted.

With payments from CSP, Paul was able to add soft red winter wheat to his corn-soy rotation, and the soil started looking healthier. He also used payments to begin rotational grazing on part of his grazing land. Now his pastures are more diverse and he has more warm season grasses.

Is CSP right for you? The program is designed to reward farmers and ranchers for using conservation practices on their land. It provides comprehensive conservation assistance to whole farms. Farmers and ranchers can receive payments for practices like planting cover crops, installing buffer strips or starting rotational grazing.

Remember, the deadline to submit an initial application is Feb. 3. If you have questions, we can help. Contact us at the Center for Rural Affairs at or 515.329.0172.

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