LYONS, NEBRASKA – For South Dakota farmers and ranchers, the deadline to submit initial paperwork for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is Dec. 3.
Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), CSP and EQIP provide financial and technical assistance for producers to address natural resource concerns on their operations. Known as working lands conservation programs, CSP and EQIP allow farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices while maintaining agricultural production.
“These programs provide a unique opportunity for farmers and ranchers who want to take care of our natural resources and continue to turn out a crop each year,” said Kalee Olson, policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs.
CSP is designed to enhance existing conservation efforts operation-wide. To be eligible, producers must demonstrate they are currently addressing regional resource concerns with approved conservation practices. In addition, they must be willing to implement additional practices, such as cover crops, rotational grazing, and conservation crop rotation.
EQIP is designed to help producers address a particular resource concern, such as erosion or water quality, with a single practice or project. Many practices available in EQIP are also available in CSP. However, it is unique in offering a number of structural practices to choose from as well.
“Conservation is for all producers, and these programs provide different points of entry depending on your experience,” Olson said. “Whether you’re a beginning farmer or a seasoned producer, CSP and EQIP can help you become a better steward of our natural resources.”
In 2020, 326 EQIP and 90 CSP contracts helped advance conservation across South Dakota, enrolling nearly 458,000 acres.
Farmers and ranchers interested in applying 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/locator/app.
# # #