Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says landowners nationwide are invited to apply for USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program. CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. Nationwide enrollment is limited to 12.7 million acres per year. The deadline to be considered for the next ranking and funding period is June 11, 2010.
Eligible producers may submit an application to enroll eligible land in CSP on a continuous basis. Producers are encouraged to apply for CSP now to ensure their applications will be considered during the next funding and ranking period. However, they can make their final decision to participate in the program once the CSP final rule is issued. The final rule will establish the policies and procedures for the program.
Potential applicants are encouraged to use the CSP self-screening checklist to determine if the new program is suitable for their operation. It is available from local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service offices or on the NRCS Web site at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html.