December 4, 2013
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the start of the 2014 enrollment process for farmers and ranchers who want to participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Producers interested in enrolling in CSP for the 2014 fiscal year must submit their initial applications to NRCS by January 17, 2014.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) helped develop CSP and has followed its progress closely. In conjunction with NRCS’s announcement, NSAC issued a press release and an Information Alert on the 2014 CSP sign-up. The Information Alert walks through the basic timeline and steps of the enrollment process and provides additional resources for those producers interested in digging deeper.
CSP is an innovative working lands conservation program that rewards farmer and ranchers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce. CSP offers technical and financial assistance to farmers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Assistance is geared toward both the active management of existing conservation systems and the implementation of new conservation activities (called enhancements) on land in agricultural production.
In an appendix to the Information Alert, NSAC provides a chart of all conservation activities ranked by their environmental benefit score. This is important for producers as they select among practices and enhancements because the higher the score, the higher the overall competitiveness of the application and the ultimate contract payment.
In the first five enrollment years for CSP (2009-2013), approximately 46,000 farmers and ranchers have enrolled nearly 60 million acres of farm and ranch land; that land is now under five-year, renewable CSP conservation contracts valued at $804 million a year. NSAC periodically analyzes and provides information on CSP participation — visit Part I and Part II of our CSP blog series for more information.
In addition to the newly released Information Alert, producers will find more detailed information about CSP in NSAC’s Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program also available for free download at http://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/.