Publications shine the spotlight on producers’ conservation efforts


The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has helped farmers and ranchers across the country achieve conservation goals on their operations for nearly two decades. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we have the privilege of working with many of these producers every day. 

Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, CSP allows producers to implement conservation methods while keeping their land in production.

In 2022, the Center received feedback from 421 farmers and ranchers in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Kansas about CSP.  

“Producers are the best source of information regarding how well conservation programs are working,” said Kalee Olson, policy associate at the Center. “It’s important they have the opportunity to share their experiences firsthand.”

According to the survey—the results of which are available in our report “Producing a Sustainable Future: Producers’ Feedback on the Nation’s Leading Conservation Program”—CSP has enhanced many aspects of agricultural operations, as indicated by the following:

  • Nearly 79% of respondents identified the program’s ability to improve the affordability of conservation practices.
  • More than 70% of participants said the program improved or is improving the financial health of their operations.
  • About 77% of respondents said that CSP-supported conservation efforts have improved, or are improving their soil health.

Following the survey, the Center spoke with three producers about their experiences. Our CSP Producer Spotlight series highlights how Will Corman, Kaitlyn Dupris, and Mike Ruby are expanding their conservation efforts. Through practice enhancements, the three are implementing methods of farming and ranching that provide an even greater benefit to natural resources, including air, water, and soil.

Mike Ruby

With the help of CSP, Mike has implemented multiple practices that add value and longevity to his farm in Greene, Iowa. His whole-farm approach to conservation has led to a diversified operation where row crops, livestock, and native plants and animals are all considered and cared for through conservation practices.

“There are a ton of practices to choose from that can help your farming operation. You just need to keep an open mind,” Mike said.

Kaitlyn Dupris

Kaitlyn and her brother began ranching in 2014. They manage a 5,000-acre operation—Maynard Dupris Ranch—in Cherry Creek, South Dakota, and understand the importance of conservation. Now in their eighth year participating in CSP, conservation is a staple of their ranching practices.

"I'm thankful for every penny the program has provided," Kaitlyn said. "We’re on our second term now, and every bit has helped."

Will Corman

Through his enrollment in CSP, Will has implemented a number of conservation practices on his operation—Tri-C Farms Inc. in Hardy, Nebraska—to increase the profitability of his farm and become a better steward of natural resources. Over the years, these practices have made a significant contribution to his conservation goals.

"Personally, we participate for the efficiency gains and profitability, but the underlying benefit is to protect the water and soil," Will said. 

Click on the links below to read more and download our CSP Producer Spotlights with Will, Kaitlyn, and Mike.

CSP Producer Spotlight: Will Corman
CSP Producer Spotlight: Kaitlyn Dupris
CSP Producer Spotlight: Mike Ruby