Farmers: Conservation Stewardship Program – Signing Up

Farmers: The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has just released a 6-page guide for farmers and ranchers interested in signing up for the Conservation Stewardship Program. Download the full guide here - and read on for more information! USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently gearing up to announce the cut-off date for farmer applications to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for enrollment in the program for 2013.  CSP is a working lands conservation program administered by NRCS and available on a nationwide basis.  CSP offers technical and financial assistance to farmers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship.  Assistance is geared to both the active management of existing conservation systems and for implementing new conservation activities on land in agricultural production. That means farmers and ranchers can apply for assistance to implement important practices on their land - like using cover crops to reduce soil erosion or creating habitat for bees and other beneficial insects. But you need to act soon.

Important: There's Continuous Sign-Up, But if You Miss the Cut-Off You Wait a Full Year – While CSP is a continuous sign-up program and producers can apply to enroll at any time of the year, NRCS applies a cut-off date for applications to be considered during a particular fiscal year.  Once the cut-off date is past, producers may continue to apply for the program, but they will not be considered for entry until the spring of the following year, in this case spring of 2014.  We expect that this year's sign up period will begin later this month and will last for 30 days, or until mid-to-late May. Background In the first four enrollment years for CSP (2009-2012), more than 39,000 farmers and ranchers operating over 50 million acres of farm and ranch land that is now under five-year, renewable CSP conservation contracts.  For those four enrollment classes, annual CSP payments are currently $680 million a year. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forest lands and agricultural land under tribal jurisdiction.  Cropped woodlands, marshes, land being used for livestock production and other private lands on which resource concerns can be addressed are also eligible.  Applicants must demonstrate they have effective control over these lands to be eligible, either through ownership or reasonably secure leases. Questions? Want to learn more! Check out our Information Alert - and then contact your local NRCS office!

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