Sign Up for Conservation Security Program Announced

Release Date: 

03/20/2008

Contact(s): 

Traci Bruckner, tracib@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext 1016 or (402) 833-5488 John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext 1010
Lyons, NE – On March 19, 2008 the USDA announced it will be opening enrollment for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) in 51 eligible watersheds. The sign-up period is from April 18 to May 16.
"The Conservation Security Program is the first working lands program that rewards farmers and ranchers for top-notch conservation on their working lands. The program focuses on sustainable farming and ranching practices that provide clean water, better soil management, improved habitat, energy efficiency, and other natural resource benefits,” said Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs. “We are glad to see this sign-up is finally moving forward after such a long delay,” adds Bruckner. “However, USDA’s bureaucratic holdup means the new sign-up will take place during spring planting season for many farmers. Eligible farmers will have to balance the CSP application process with the demands of spring planting.”

CSP has remained popular with farmers and ranchers despite considerable funding restrictions that have limited the program to implementation on a watershed-by-watershed basis rather than a nationwide basis. Some 16 million acres have already been enrolled since the program was created in the 2002 farm bill.

Congress is currently negotiating a new farm bill that prominently features a streamlined and expanded Conservation Security Program. If ultimately passed, the new law would allow all farmers nationwide to compete on a continuous basis for their place in the 13 million acres to be enrolled each year. Those who already have good conservation and who aspire to the best environmental performance would compete to receive five year contracts paying up to $40,000 each. (Existing contracts, including the new signup, would be continued.)

“We believe that the Conservation Security Program is the right policy for the right time. It provides benefits that reach far beyond the farm or ranch by investing in farming systems and practices that provide clean water, healthy soils, and wildlife habitat,” said Bruckner. “We hope the farmers and ranchers in these watersheds take advantage of their opportunity to apply now. And we call on Congress to pass a farm bill that fully funds the Conservation Security Program to provide this opportunity to other farmers and ranchers in the future.”

Eligible watersheds and additional information on CSP is available at: http://www.cfra.org/2008/csp

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