LYONS, NEBRASKA – The deadline for Nebraska producers to submit initial paperwork for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is Nov. 18.
CSP and EQIP are working lands programs that allow farmers and ranchers to address natural resource priorities while maintaining agricultural production. They are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provide financial and technical assistance for producers interested in implementing conservation practices.
“In contrast to a one-size-fits-all approach, these programs allow producers to select conservation practices that work with the specific needs of their operations,” said Kalee Olson, policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs.
EQIP is designed to help producers address a particular resource concern with a single practice or project, such as improving soil health through no-till or rotational grazing. In addition, EQIP offers assistance for structural practices, such as building terraces.
In contrast, CSP is a whole-farm program designed to help producers take their existing conservation efforts to the next level. Eligible producers must demonstrate they are currently addressing regional resource concerns and be willing to implement additional practices, such as a multispecies cover crop.
“As with any change to an operation, implementing conservation practices comes with an amount of risk. CSP and EQIP alleviate these risks and provide incentives for producers to try something new,” Olson said.
In 2021, more than 1,200 contracts advanced conservation across Nebraska, with 1,029 EQIP and 184 CSP contracts statewide.
Producers interested in applying for either program are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office as soon as possible to set up an appointment. A list of local offices can be found at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov.