12-21-16 NRCS Debuts Improved Conservation Stewardship Program and Encourages Producers to Apply for Funding Today

NRCS-CO News Release HEader 010816

NRCS Debuts Improved Conservation Stewardship Program and Encourages Producers to Apply for Funding Today

CSP applications must be received by February 3, 2017 for funding consideration.

DENVER, CO – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is currently accepting applications for its improved Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Applications must be submitted to the local Field Offices by close of business on February 3, 2017.

NRCS has made several updates to the program for 2017 that will help producers to better evaluate their operation’s sustainable use of natural resources.  The program will also offer a greatly increased number conservation activities that allow more opportunities to further improve their operation’s soil health, water quality, plant health, air quality, livestock production, and fish & wildlife habitat.

People interested in the additional information regarding the updated CSP can visit the new CSP portal at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp or can visit their local Field Office which can be located through https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/co/contact/local/.

CSP is for agricultural producers and private-land forest managers who are already established conservation stewards.  The program can help them to realize higher levels of conservation on these working lands.  Improvements to the program include new software for evaluating applications that is more transparent and will allow producers to see, up front, if their management meets the program’s stewardship threshold, and allows them to pick from a greater amount of conservation activities that will help them increase their resource stewardship and meet their conservation objectives.  In all, the program redesign will allow for increased conservation while providing flexibility and transparency.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active production on their land.  CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Since 2009, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect over 400 million acres nationwide, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, boosting soil and air quality, cleaning and conserving water and enhancing wildlife habitat. For an interactive look at USDA’s work in conservation and forestry over the course of this Administration, visit https://medium.com/usda-results.