November 16, 2016, Colchester, Vermont--enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. Applications are available in local USDA Service Centers. NRCS offices will begin processing applications for the program on November 14, 2016, with sign-up running through February 3, 2017.
NRCS has made several updates to the program this year to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications will help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These new tools also allow producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.
“This year, the Conservation Stewardship Program provides even more opportunities for conservation and greater flexibility at the local level to prioritize resource concerns and conservation approaches,” says Vicky Drew, State Conservationist for NRCS in Vermont.
Producers can find more information about the updated CSP on a new one-stop shop portal, located at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp. The new CSP offers nearly double the enhancements and conservation practices and better reporting tools to tell producers the results of their conservation efforts on their land.
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.
CSP is for producers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.