How Is the Conservation Stewardship Program Signup Working?

Once 2013 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts are finalized, the program will have reached approximately 63 million acres enrolled nationally, helping nearly 48,000 farmers and ranchers increase their conservation.

The CSP has become America’s flagship conservation program. And in order to ensure that it continues to work as envisioned, to invest in farmers and ranchers who work so diligently to preserve America’s natural resources through conservation on working lands, we need to learn from farmers and ranchers using the program.

Previous applicants have helped us develop recommendations and influence the Natural Resources Conservation Service to make positive changes for the program so that it better reflects farmers’ and ranchers’ conservation efforts.

The program has sought to enroll roughly 12.8 million acres annually. Automatic budget cuts, known as "sequestration," will reduce future sign-ups by nearly 800,000 acres annually. Competition for contracts was stiff with full funding; budget cuts will make it even more competitive.

At the Center for Rural Affairs, we believe that farmers and ranchers with the best stewardship should rank among the top applicants. Therefore, we created our Farm Bill Helpline - 402.687.2100 - to assist new applicants in navigating these application processes, and learn from their experiences.

No matter where you are in that process, give us a call! We can help, and it is vitally important that we hear from those who have utilized the program to understand what’s working, what’s not working, and problems that need fixing.

You can find out more about the Conservation Stewardship Program here.