This Holiday Season Sign-up for the Conservation Stewardship Program

Farmers and ranchers that want to participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year have less than a month to apply at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office. The CSP rewards farmers, ranchers, and foresters for maintaining existing conservation practices and for adopting additional practices on cropland, grassland, non-industrial private forestland and tribal lands. This program pays producers for fostering clean water, better soil management, improved habitat, energy efficiency, and other natural resource benefits.
The CSP is a continuous sign-up program that has periodic cut-off dates for ranking applications. The USDA recently announced that January 13, 2012 is the deadline for this year.  Applications can be filed at your local NRCS office (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/about/organization/regions.html). The Center for Rural Affairs is also encouraging farmers and ranchers to call the Center's Farm Bill Helpline to help us learn more about how the program and application process are working and any possible barriers farmers and ranchers may encounter during the sign-up.  Potential CSP applicants can call the Farm Bill Helpline at (402) 687-2100 or send an email to tracib@cfra.org.  The Center for Rural Affairs also has a CSP fact sheet available online at http://www.cfra.org/renewrural/csp.

CSP is one of the most popular conservation programs. In 2010 alone, nearly 21,000 applicants enrolled in CSP, putting additional conservation on 25.2 million acres, about the size of the state of Kentucky. Those interested in applying should contact their local NRCS office as soon as possible to meet the deadline.

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