Lexington, KY February 25, 2015 – Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Jason Weller today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering a renewal option through Tuesday, March 31, 2015for eligible agricultural producers and forest landowners with expiring Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts.
These producers must be willing to adopt additional conservation activities aimed at helping them achieve higher levels of conservation on their farms, forests and ranches.
Changes in the 2014 Farm Bill will allow CSP participants with expiring contracts to renew them by exceeding stewardship thresholds for two or more existing natural resource concerns specified by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or by meeting stewardship thresholds for at least two new natural resource concerns such as improving water quality or soil health.
The renewal process is optional but benefits CSP participants with expiring contracts because it is non-competitive. The 2014 Farm Bill includes an expanded conservation activity list that offers producers more options to address natural resource challenges. New conservation activities include cover crops, intensive rotational grazing and wildlife-friendly fencing.
Along with the renewal option announced today, USDA announced last month that it will make available $100 million this year through the CSP in 2015.
Although CSP applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners should submit applications by the funding deadline, extended to Friday, March 13, to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding.
“We’re extending the deadline for applications to CSP to provide agricultural producers more time to complete their applications,” said Kentucky’s State Conservationist Karen Woodrich. “From
improving soil health to sending cleaner water downstream, this program is improving the environment in Kentucky and across the nation,” she added.
Landowners in Kentucky have enrolled over 200,000 acres into CSP. To learn more about CSP visit the NRCS website or visit a USDA Service Center near you.