Applications for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Due January 17, 2014The USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) recently released a press release announcing its opening of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014. Applications are being accepted now and will be accepted through January 17, 2014. Excerpt from press release: The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat. … CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation. The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy. … Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. … A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types. Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website or a local NRCS field office.