$100 million Expected to Attract Enrollment of 7.7 Million Acres for Conservation
Lexington, KY, Jan. 28, 2015 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture will make available $100 million this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and although applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners should submit applications by Feb. 27, 2015 to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding (applications received after that date will be considered for future funding). This year’s investment may result in the enrollment of up to 7.7 million acres in the program by private landowners.
“CSP is a way of incentivizing farmers, ranchers, and private forest managers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship,” said Tim Bartee of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “By focusing on multiple resource concerns, landowners are able to achieve a sustainable landscape and maintain or increase the productivity of their operations.”
Through CSP, participants take additional conservation steps to improve the resource conditions on their land, including soil, air and habitat quality, water quality and quantity, and energy conservation.
Bartee said CSP producers are conservation leaders, showing how science-based conservation and technological advancements can improve the environment and farming operations at the same time. For example, Tom Wimpsett from Warren County, Kentucky turned to NRCS in 2011 for assistance. Through the CSP, Wimpsett received financial and technical assistance to implement water quality and plant resource activities. Through an intensive rotational grazing plan, he is achieving a higher quality and better yielding forage which leads to more productive livestock. His goal is to achieve optimal environmental conditions by maintaining this healthy forage which also protects the soil surface from erosion and reduces risks to ground and surface water quality.
“CSP is a great addition to our conservation toolbox for our Landscape Conservation Initiatives, which rally together landowners at the broader level to make conservation improvements that help us tackle our nation’s resource issues,” Bartee said. “Historically, other conservation programs have driven these initiatives, but now with CSP, we’ll be bringing more farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to these efforts.”
Applications should be submitted to local NRCS offices. As part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete a resource inventory of their land, which will help determine the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities. The applicant's conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking and payments.
For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or the USDA Service Center at 925 Lovers Lane, Bowling Green, KY or phone at 270-843-1111 x 3.