NRCS-CO: USDA Offers Renewal Options for Expiring Conservation Stewardship Contracts
DENVER, CO April 2, 2018 – Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to renew their Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contract.
Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by April 13th.
Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. Participants with existing CSP contracts expiring in, 2018 can renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve even higher levels of conservation on their operation.
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, increasing buffer strip widths, and creating pollinator or beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, planting for high carbon sequestration rates, and new soil amendments to improve water quality. Some of these benefits of CSP include:
- Improved cattle gains per acre;
- Increased crop yields;
- Decreased inputs;
- Wildlife habitat improvements; and
- Better resilience to weather extremes.
NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their operation’s conservation options. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front if they are meeting the program’s Stewardship Thresholds and allows them to pick activities that will help them meet their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation work early in the process to enable them to make better choices for their operation.