Iowa farmers interested in signing up for the Conservation Stewardship Program in 2013 should submit applications by June 14 at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office. That reminder comes from Dave Brommel, CSP Coordinator for USDA/NRCS in Iowa.
CSP is a voluntary program that allows producers to go the extra mile in conserving natural resources, while also maintaining or increasing the productivity of their operations. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.
A self-screening checklist for CSP can help you decide if the program is good for your farming operation
Jason Weller, acting NRCS chief in Washington, D.C., recently announced the USDA agency will provide about $175 million in funding nationally, for up to 12.6 million additional acres. In 2012, NRCS awarded 552 CSP contracts in Iowa worth nearly $34 million over five years, covering about 288,000 acres.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types. For the checklist or additional CSP application materials, visit your local USDA Service Center or go online to the NRCS website.
CSP is different from other USDA financial assistance conservation programs
"The Conservation Stewardship Program is different than other USDA financial assistance programs," says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. It's about conservation activities on the entire operation focusing on multiple resource concerns."
"We applaud Secretary Vilsack for proceeding quickly to enroll these additional 12 million acres of farm and ranch land this year," says Traci Bruckner, assistant director of Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs in Nebraska. "Although the timeline is tight during this already delayed planting season, we encourage farmers and ranchers who have considered applying to CSP to take an hour out of their busy schedules to look at CSP again and consider making an application."
"We hope more farmers and ranchers will take advantage of this extension for the CSP application deadline. To meet this deadline, they just need to submit the basic application form to their local NRCS office," says Bruckner.
Resources are available to help producers consider the program and make their applications. Producers can contact the Center's Farm Bill Helpline for additional assistance in navigating the application process and, of course, application materials and information are available through USDA's website and your local NRCS office.
CSP resources for farmers and ranchers:
USDA's CSP website
Center for Rural Affairs Helpline – 402-687-2100 or [email protected]
USDA Service Center locator (to locate local NRCS offices).