Renewal signup is underway for expiring conservation stewardship program contracts

May 5 is an important upcoming deadline for farmers and ranchers who are enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

CSP is a national voluntary stewardship incentives program administered by Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). CSP is designed to reward farmers, ranchers and foresters for maintaining existing conservation, as well as for the adoption of additional conservation measures on their land. The program pays producers for continuing and expanding conservation efforts that support natural resource priorities such as clean water, better soil management, improved habitat, energy efficiency and others.

Many farmers and ranchers are enrolled in five-year CSP contracts that are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. These farmers and ranchers can apply to enroll in CSP for an additional five years. Renewal contracts are required to do one of two things: adopt at least two additional priority resource concerns, or exceed the stewardship threshold of at least two existing priority resource concerns.

CSP spans nationally, with varying numbers of contracts by state. Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota have the most expiring contracts compared to other states. The states with the largest number of CSP total acres expiring this year are Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas. Click here for information on expiring contracts in your state.

Farmers and ranchers with CSP contracts expiring on Dec. 31, 2017 should contact your local NRCS office today about renewing your contract. The deadline to apply for renewal is May 5. The renewal deadline usually coincides with the annual CSP signup, but this year, it is later. 

Not a farmer or rancher? Please share this blog with the farmers and ranchers you know.

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits that CSP provides on the landscape?

Check out our Practical Guide to Common Sandhills Conservation Practices to learn about a few of the practices that conservation programs support in Nebraska’s Sandhills. Read about how monitoring cattle nutrition can help grazers manage grassland, or how installing escape ramps in livestock watering tanks allows birds and mammals who wander in can wander back out again.

As always, if you’re ready to speak out to and protect these valuable conservation programs and other programs that support rural America, click here and let us know!