NRCS Plans Conservation Stewardship Program
Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is looking for Virginia farmers and forestry producers interested in earning rewards for good land management practices through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, this voluntary program offers payments to producers who have set their sights on good land stewardship and want to improve their conservation performance. CSP is open to all Virginia farmers and forestry producers regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. Targeted land includes crop-, pasture- and non-industrial private forest land with the first enrollment period ending January 7, 2011.
“CSP participants get credit for conservation measures they've already implemented and for new measures they agree to add,” says State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “In 2010, Virginia obligated $3.3 million in CSP contracts with landowners. Changes to the 2011 program will expand access, increase payment limits, and promote greater environmental benefits while maintaining program goals.”
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CSP is offered in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-up, with announced cut-off dates for ranking and funding applications. Potential applicants are encouraged to use the CSP self-screening checklist to determine whether CSP is suitable for their operations. The checklist, which highlights basic CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations, and payments, may be accessed through the national CSP Web site at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html.
To apply, call or visit a local USDA Service Center, listed online at offices.usda.gov, or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department. For details on changes to CSP, download the final rule at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-12699.pdf.