USDA began issuing Conservation Stewardship and Conservation Security Program payments last week to Iowa contract holders who are using the program to help maintain and improve the natural resources on their land.
More than $20 million in payments will be issued to Iowa farmers associated with 1,480 new Conservation Stewardship Program contracts in 2010, treating nearly 800,000 acres. In addition to the Stewardship program payments, more than $17 million in payments will be issued to honor the 1,412 older Conservation Security Program contracts.
USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service administers both programs and provides technical assistance to landowners. Producers with contracts will be notified when to visit their local NRCS office to verify they have met requirements of the contract.
CSP is voluntary program with incentives to encourage farmers
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that by taking steps to enhance the quality of their land, farmers are helping to preserve their land and their way of life for generations to come. "These landowners should be commended for their commitment to environmental stewardship," he said.
The Conservation Stewardship Program is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to address resource concerns by undertaking additional conservation activities and improving and maintaining existing conservation systems. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. Nationally, more than 25 million acres have been enrolled in this innovative program that links conservation payments to environmental performance.
Farmers must submit applications by Jan. 7, 2011 for CSP funds
USDA is accepting new applications for the Stewardship program from interested farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private forest landowners. Although it is a continuous sign-up program, producers must submit applications by Jan. 7, 2011, to be considered for the next round of funding.
Iowa finished third in the nation in number of total Stewardship program contracts and second nationally in dollars obligated in 2010. For a state-by-state breakdown of the Conservation Stewardship Program payments go to www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/2010contractsdollars.html. For a state-by-state breakdown of the Conservation Security Program payments go to www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/2011contractsdollars.html.
County-by-county results for Conservation Stewardship Program are available on the Iowa NRCS site www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/FY10CSPmap.html. For more information about USDA conservation programs, visit your local USDA Service Center or go online to www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.