Conservation Security Program Funding Restored - Nebraska Farmers to be Offered a Chance for Enrollment in 2007

Release Date: 

06/26/2007

Contact(s): 

John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext 1010
Lyons, NE – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that restored funding for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) will allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture to meet contract obligations and open up the program to farmers for new enrollments this year.
Congress recently passed a supplemental budget bill that included additional funding for the Conservation Security Program, the country’s first comprehensive working lands conservation program.  Farmers who have modified their Conservation Security Program contracts by adding new conservation practices to their farms will receive full program support.  The restored program funding will also allow farmers in selected watersheds to apply to the program. 

“The Conservation Security Program is the first working lands program that pays farmers for clean water, better soil management, improved habitat, energy efficiency, and other natural resource benefits,” said Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs.  “Restoring the funding for the CSP will allow the program to move forward and enable farmers and ranchers to continue to be rewarded for their excellent conservation systems and encourage them to do even more,” Bruckner continued.

The Conservation Security Program was created in the 2002 Farm Bill and is up for re-authorization in the 2007 Farm Bill, which is currently being debated in Congress. In Nebraska, 1,510 farms are enrolled in the program, totaling over 787,610 acres and $11,351,315 in CSP payments. Nationwide, nearly 20,000 farms are enrolled in the program, totaling 16 million acres. 

“Opening the Conservation Security Program to new watersheds provides farmers and ranchers the opportunity to not only be rewarded for their current conservation systems but to adopt additional conservation measures as well,” said Bruckner.  “We are pleased to hear that Congress has restored funding and that more farmers and ranchers will now have an opportunity to enroll in the Conservation Security Program.”

A recent study of the Conservation Security Program, conducted by the Center for Rural Affairs, found that farmers and ranchers overwhelmingly support increased conservation on working lands as a primary goal of public policy. Even with the funding challenges the CSP has witnessed to date, they are encouraged by the program and what it means for sustainable small and mid-size farmers and ranchers. For more information on the report’s findings, please go to: http://www.cfra.org/pdf/CSP_Report_farmerperspective.pdf

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