December 8, 2014
Over 7,600 farmers and ranchers enrolled over 9.5 million acres in advanced conservation through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. CSP provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to address regional natural resource concerns, like water quality, soil erosion, and critical habitat. The program covers more working farm and ranch lands through renewable, multi-year contracts than any other federal conservation program.
We only have very basic information for the 2014 CSP enrollment from USDA so far. We will report further once we have more in-depth information, but for now we will present an overview of the data provided to us to date.
The average payment across all contracts was roughly $14.60 per acre, totaling over $140 million in payments, or roughly $700 million over the life of the five-year CSP contracts signed. Payments tend to be far higher for cropland, lower for rangeland, and near the average for pasture.
The FY 2014 numbers show a jump in the number of contracts, up from just under 7,000 last year. Total dollars obligated also increased—up from $124 million in 2013—while acres enrolled stayed relatively consistent. Across the country, the average contract in FY 2014 came in at around $18,350 for 1,258 acres.
The top five states in terms of number of farmers and ranchers to enroll were, in order, Oklahoma, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, and Wisconsin. These five states accounted for almost 40 percent of all contracts in FY 2014.
The top five states by acreage enrolled were, in order, South Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Montana. These states accounted for over 44 percent of all enrolled acreage in 2014, with South Dakota enrolling nearly 1.3 million acres alone. The top states by acreage enroll the most rangeland.
The top five states in terms of dollars obligated were, in order, South Dakota, Minnesota, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma, accounting for nearly $60 million.
Acres available for CSP enrollment each year are allocated to states in proportion to each state’s share of total U.S. agricultural land area. Therefore states with large amounts of agricultural land show up in the top CSP states in the charts above. With 2014 data factored in, farmers and ranchers in Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Nebraska rounded out the top five states in terms of contracts since the beginning of the program in 2009. These CSP heavy hitters totaled over 18,000 contracts and over 16,000,000 acres enrolled.
Another way to view enrollment data, however, is to assess CSP enrollments relative to total agricultural land in the state, thus showing which states enrolled the most acres relative to their land base. Looked at in this way, Alaska led all states, and additional southern and western states made the top ten list for 2014.
We will be doing a deeper dive into 2014 enrollment data once it becomes available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture next year. Check out last year’s data breakdown for a more detailed look at CSP enhancements and enrollment trends, and our CSP webpage for more details on the program.
Also stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks for information for the upcoming FY 15 CSP sign up, and how to weigh in with public comments on the changes USDA is making to program as part of the rule making process for the 2014 Farm Bill.
Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment