The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service is accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program.
CSP offers technical and financial assistance to help agricultural and forest producers to take their conservation efforts to the next level. Landowners of farmland or forestland may apply for this program regardless of the size of operation. The entire operation will be enrolled for a period of five years, with payments being issued as soon as practical after Oct. 1 of each fiscal year for contract activities installed and maintained in the previous fiscal year and completed before Sept. 30.
Through CSP, NRCS can work with a person to develop a plan tailored to one’s operation. It offers an opportunity for both agricultural and forest managers to enhance their operations while adopting conservation activities that will enhance work a person has already completed. Practices and enhancements are available to improve resource concerns such as soil health, water quality, wildlife habitat, or reduce soil erosion. Whether one is looking to improve tree stands, plant cover crops, install pollinator habitat, establish riparian buffers, or incorporate enhanced grazing management activities, NRCS can custom design a plan to help meet those goals.
Applicants must establish records with USDA-Farm Service Agency and meet both land and producer eligibility. This includes compliance with both adjust gross income requirements, as well as highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements. Additionally, participants must meet stewardship threshold eligibility, which is a term NRCS uses to determine if a CSP applicant is currently meeting or exceeding an adequate level of conservation criteria for a particular natural resource concern. They must be the landowner or legal operator and be in control of the day-to-day operations, but do not have to be a resident of the state in which the property is located.
NRCS is committed to helping landowners improve and maintain quality forest and agriculture land. Please visit the NRCS website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov. or call the local field office for more information.