Producing a Sustainable Future: Producers’ Feedback on the Nation’s Leading Conservation Program

Farm and Food
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The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) specializes in supporting continued conservation on productive agricultural lands, commonly referred to as working lands. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and is the largest conservation program in the U.S. This approach supports conservation without taking land out of production and provides financial and technical support for farmers and ranchers to care for the land and local resources.

In spring 2022, the Center for Rural Affairs surveyed farmers and ranchers in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Kansas about their experiences with CSP. Participants were mailed voluntary questionnaires covering several aspects of CSP. A total of 421 surveys were completed and returned to the Center.

Participants provided key insights into how CSP has helped enhance their operations and affected their soil quality. They also offered feedback on soil-testing requirements, changes to the application process, and suggestions for additional enhancements and improvements for the program. These insights from end-users of the program highlight the most beneficial aspects of the program and provide input for growth and improvement.