Conservation Stewardship Program Sign Up Underway
Farmers and ranchers interested in enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this year have until February 27 to submit their initial applications to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). You can sign up anytime throughout the year for CSP, but if you miss the February 27 cut-off, then your application will not be considered until 2016.
The initial process to sign up is easy. You just go to your local NRCS office and submit the initial application to enroll, which is a simple form.
CSP is an innovative working lands conservation program that rewards farmers and ranchers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce. Since the program began in 2009, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled in the program. CSP is a competitive program that aims to achieve environmental benefits by scoring and then financially rewarding CSP applicants with the highest conservation performance outcomes, based on current and planned future conservation activities.
First you apply to see if you are eligible, then NRCS scores your current performance and future plans. If you already meet acceptable conservation levels, then you compete in a ranking process that determines who will receive contracts. Contracts are awarded to those offering the highest level of environmental benefits, with NRCS working down through the list of eligible applicants until acreage allocated to the particular state for that particular year runs out. At the national level in most years approximately twice as many farmers apply as get into the program in a given year, though there is some variation by state to that two to one ratio.
Not sure CSP is for you? Fill out NRCS’ Self-Screening Checklist to help determine if you are eligible for the program. Read article here.
From KRC’s Legislative & Policy Watch Weekly E-Updates, January 30, 2015, issue. To receive Policy Watch in your Inbox each week, please subscribe here.