The deadline for farmers and ranchers to sign-up to participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year is May 31, just ten days from now. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will accept slightly more than 12 million acres into the program this year.
While CSP enrollment is continuous, interested farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners must complete the initial application form by May 31 to compete for a spot in the 2013 enrollment class for the program.
“Participating in CSP can improve both conservation outcomes and the bottom line for producers,” said NSAC Policy Associate, Greg Fogel. “To seize that opportunity, farmers and ranchers must act quickly to complete their initial application form.”
CSP is an innovative working lands conservation program that rewards farmers and ranchers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce. CSP is administered by NRCS and available on a nationwide basis. Financial assistance is geared to the active management and improvement of existing conservation systems and to the implementation of new conservation activities on land in agricultural production. CSP contracts last 5 years and are renewable.
In the first four enrollment years for CSP (2009-2012), more than 39,000 farmers and ranchers have enrolled over 50 million acres of farm and ranch land and are receiving conservation payments worth $680 million a year.
In April, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition issued an Information Alert on the 2013 sign-up. In addition to providing the timeline for the sign-up and enrollment process, the Alert includes basic sign-up information and describes changes made to the program for this sign-up, including new conservation enhancements being offered.
In addition to information available in the Information Alert, producers will find more detailed information about CSP in NSAC’s Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program, available for free download here. The Guide provides clear information on conservation activities eligible for CSP payments to improve conservation performance and environmental benefits. It also includes step-by-step enrollment guidance, key definitions and helpful hints.