Renewal signup is underway for expiring conservation stewardship program contracts
Lyons, Neb. - Farmers and ranchers currently enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with contracts expiring Dec. 31, 2017, have until May 5, 2017, to renew.
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.
Contract duration is five years, and, in many cases, contracts may be renewed for an additional five years. Renewal contract recipients are required to do one of two actions: adopt at least two additional priority resource concerns or exceed the stewardship threshold of at least two existing priority resource concerns.
“In a time when there is more and more attention paid to the need to build healthy soil, improve water quality, and otherwise support natural resource conservation, the Conservation Stewardship Program offers farmers and ranchers a great opportunity to ramp up conservation on their operations,” said Anna Johnson, Center for Rural Affairs policy associate.
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.
“The Conservation Stewardship Program doesn’t forget smaller producers,” Johnson said. “For folks who qualify for the program, the minimum contract payment is $1,500, no matter the acreage. This is an important farmer and rancher funding opportunity.”
The renewal deadline usually coincides with the annual CSP signup, but this year, it is later. To renew a contract, farmers and ranchers should contact their local NRCS office. Information on local NRCS offices can be found at nrcs.usda.gov.
Johnson is available to answer questions, and is also seeking comments from farmers or ranchers who would like to share their experiences with CSP. She can be reached at 515.215.1294.
Note: To find the number of CSP contracts expiring in your state, please click here.