The deadline for farmers and ranchers to apply to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is quickly approaching. Application deadlines vary by state, so interested producers should contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office as soon as possible and be aware of new safety procedures in place due to the coronavirus.
The deadline in Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota is May 29.
Administered by NRCS, CSP is a working lands conservation program that offers financial and technical assistance for producers to enhance conservation on their operations.
Farmers and ranchers work with their local NRCS office to develop an application for CSP. Together, they identify natural resource concerns on the operation, such as soil health and water quality. As part of the contract, they also select conservation practices that build upon the farmer or rancher’s existing conservation.
When considering applying for the program, it is a good idea for farmers and ranchers to think through how they would like to increase conservation on their operation. Popular CSP practices include cover crops, prescribed grazing, and conservation crop rotation.
CSP contracts are five years in length, and are eligible for renewal. The program is available for a variety of operations, including for farmers on rented ground, certified organic operations and small operations. The minimum annual payment under a CSP contract is $1,500.
Due to the coronavirus, NRCS will be conducting business by phone and email until further notice. Interested producers should call their local NRCS office and be prepared, if prompted, to leave a detailed message.