Conservation Stewardship Program 2010 Sign-up Announced!

From Michael Fields Agricultural Institute: Farmers and forest landowners interested in receiving payments for maintaining and enhancing conservation practices on their land can now apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) 2010 sign-up period. Farmers and forest landowners have until June 11th to apply with their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office to be considered for this year’s ranking period. Also, MFAI will be hosting two workshops on CSP in Oshkosh and Rhinelander. What is CSP? CSP is the first program of its kind that rewards farmers for the conservation work they are doing, and gives them support to do more. Producers who get into the program receive five-year contracts with a payment cap of $40,000 per year. Last year, over 700 Wisconsin farmers applied for CSP, with over 500 accepted for contracts.

What are farmers saying about CSP? “Our objective is always to be good stewards of the land,” says Robert Moeller, a dairy and grain farmer from Black Creek who received a CSP contract last year. “CSP gives us an extra push in doing so.” Karl Klessig, a dairy farmer from Cleveland says, “I thought, what a great program for farmers to not only be given credit for what they’re doing, but given an incentive to do better. [CSP] doesn’t require you to do everything, but gives you a plethora of options to choose from. This is a program that covers us for the next five years, and the financial reward is significant.” "It takes more time and more management, but for the new things I’m adding on, there is compensation," says Jim Stute of Rock County. Greg Nettekoven, a grain farmer from Black Creek, will be planting cover crops, using slow-release nitrogen, and recycling his waste oil. He is adding these to his current practices of mulch tilling, no-till, and nutrient management. Nettekoven says, “I take a lot of pride in growing a safe, healthy crop for the public. I want to grow better crops without unnecessary fertilizer, and want to preserve good soil for the next generation.” “Even though the signup is not something you can do in five minutes, it was straightforward,” notes Klessig. “It is something that I think most farmers could do with a little bit of help, and it’s a very small commitment in time and effort for a very large reward. Nathen Nysse, the Nutrient Management Planner for S&S Ag Enterprises says, “The signup was pretty straightforward. We had our crop rotations in hand, so it was really as simple as filling out the questionnaire and determining which rotations would go on which fields and when.” Information on the workshops: Two informational workshops will be held with NRCS representatives in Tomahawk and Oshkosh.  These workshops are for farmers and forest landowners interested in learning more about CSP and 2010 signup process. Tomahawk: Wednesday, May 19th, 1 – 3 p.m., at Treehaven, W2540 Pickerel Creek Road, 715-453-4106 Oshkosh: Monday, May 24th, 1 – 3 p.m., at the NRCS office, 625 E. County Rd. Y, 920-424-0329 x310 If you would like more information, please contact Bridget Holcomb, MFAI's Associate Policy Director, at Bridget@MichaelFieldsAgInst.org or at (608) 256-1859.

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