CSP Workshops This Week for Middle Iowa Watershed

Farmers interested in signing up for Conservation Security Program can learn about application process.

Workshops are scheduled next week for farmers and landowners in the Middle Iowa River Watershed interested in signing up for USDA's Conservation Security Program. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced that the Middle Iowa Watershed, located in east-central Iowa, is one of 51 watersheds nationwide eligible for the 2008 CSP. It is the only watershed in Iowa eligible for the 2008 sign up, says Tom O'Connor, CSP manager for NRCS in Iowa.

To help potential CSP participants in the Middle Iowa Watershed learn more about the program and the application process, local NRCS offices are holding a series of CSP workshops beginning April 14 in Tama.

Signup for the 2008 CSP begins April 18 and runs until May 16. All applicants must complete a Self Assessment Workbook as well as several other application tools. This workshop will discuss the program, benefits and application process.
Currently scheduled workshops, which should each last about two hours, include:

* April 14—1 p.m. at Tama. It will be held at the Tama Civic Center, 305 Siegel St. It is located at the west end of Tama's Main Street (or Third Street).
* April 15—1 p.m. at Brooklyn, in Farm Bureau Basement, 125 Jackson Street
* April 16—7 p.m. at Belle Plaine, in the Community Center, 1309 5th Avenue
* April 17—7 p.m. at Marshalltown, in Conrad Dejardin Hall at Marshalltown Community College
* April 21—7 p.m. at Marengo in Marengo Fair Grounds Hall
* April 23—10 a.m. at Solon in the Public Library, 320 W. Main Street

The Middle Iowa is one of 51 watersheds included in the 2008 CSP. It is located in Grundy, Story, Marshall, Tama, Benton, Linn, Jasper, Poweshiek, Iowa, and Johnson Counties in East Central Iowa. More information is available at www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp2008.html.

The purpose of CSP is to reward the best conservation farmers for their past conservation efforts and encourage them to do more, says O'Connor. This unique program, for those who meet the basic eligibility requirements, offers five to ten year contracts. For the last three Iowa CSP signups, the annual contract payment averages $9,000. Currently there are about 900,000 acres and 2,350 contracts in CSP in Iowa.

USDA changes rules for interseeding CRP

USDA also made another important announcement last week, regarding the rules for another of its conservation programs—the Conservation Reserve Program. USDA has changed the rules for interseeding CRP acres during mid-contract management of that land.

"USDA has clarified the rules specifying that CRP contract holders must disk, burn or apply herbicides to existing vegetation during mid-contract management," explains Barb Stewart, state agronomist for USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa.

Before interseeding CRP land, consult with your local NRCS office, she advises. More information is also available from the "Options for CRP Mid Contract Management" fact sheet at
www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/news/brochures/publications.html.

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