USDA Conservation Program Marks Milestone

USDA Conservation Program Marks Milestone

Farmers and ranchers have reached the 50-million acre mark in USDA's Conservation Security Program.

FAQ: USDA recently announced that the Conservation Stewardship Program has reached 50-million acres. Tell me more about CSP.

In just four years, America's top conservationists have enrolled 50-million acres in USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program. CSP is a program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners take soil and water conservation to the next level. CSP is aimed at producers who are already established as conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.

Farmers and ranchers have reached the 50-million acre mark in USDA's Conservation Security Program.

The announcement of this conservation milestone being reached was made at the end of 2012. "Farmers and ranchers throughout the country are making USDA's voluntary Conservation Stewardship Program a major force for conservation," said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "The protection of natural resources through conservation programs such as CSP create outdoor and wildlife recreation opportunities that provide crucial jobs and bolster economic growth in rural American communities."

Eligible farmers and landowners can sign up for CSP year-around

The land enrolled in CSP totals more than 78,000 square miles, an area larger than Pennsylvania and South Carolina combined, making the program one of the largest voluntary conservation programs for private lands offered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Nearly 12.2 million acres, or 18,750 square miles, were added to the program's rolls during 2012.

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP. NRCS local offices accept CSP applications year-round and evaluate applications during announced ranking periods.

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. It is available from local NRCS offices and on the CSP website. Learn more about CSP and other NRCS programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov.

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