Farmers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.
While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2 to be considered for this funding period.
New conservation management techniques
Through CSP, ag 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 ag production on their land.
CSP also encourages adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques, such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration, 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
• higher wildlife populations
• better resilience to weather extremes
Several updates offered
NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see upfront why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives.
These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.
Source: USDA NRCS