The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding this year is May 10. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest up to $700 million for new enrollments and contract extensions in fiscal year 2019. The 2018 Farm Bill made several changes to CSP, which helps farmers and ranchers take their conservation activities to the next level.
“CSP is an effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” Missouri State Conservationist J.R. Flores said. “It is a popular conservation program. Missouri farmers previously have enrolled more than 3.4 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land.”
CSP applications are accepted throughout the year, but only those submitted at local NRCS offices by May 10 will be considered for 2019 funding. The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from now until 2023, and it makes some important improvements to the program. These updates include:
NRCS now enrolls eligible, high ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres. For fiscal year 2019, NRCS can spend up to $700 million in the program, which covers part of the cost for producers implementing new conservation activities and maintaining their existing activities.
Higher payment rates are now available for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource-conserving crop rotations.
CSP now provides specific support for organic and for transitioning-to-organic production activities, as well as a special grassland-conservation initiative for certain farmers who have maintained cropland base acres.
CSP provides many benefits including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather extremes. CSP is for working lands including cropland, pasture land, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.
For more information contact the NRCS office serving your county. NRCS offices can be found in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or online at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.