The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the final rule for its Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The rule makes updates to the popular conservation program as directed by the 2018 Farm Bill and integrates feedback from agricultural producers and others.
CSP provides many benefits, including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements, and increased resilience to adverse weather. CSP is for working lands, including cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land, and agricultural land under Indian tribe jurisdiction.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) acting Chief, Kevin Norton, said “NRCS has prioritized the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill, including important changes to the Conservation Stewardship Program, which is designed to help farmers put more robust conservation activities in place.”
He says the final rule better aligns CSP with NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
EQIP is a voluntary conservation program that helps promote agricultural production and environmental quality by providing producers financial and technical assistance to implement structural and management conservation practices on working agricultural lands.
NRCS state offices will be announcing sign-up periods for CSP, and existing CSP participants may have an opportunity to renew their contracts in the first half of the fifth year of their five-year contract.
CSP helps producers enhance the conservation activities on their working lands. For more information on how to sign up for CSP, visit your state NRCS website through nrcs.usda.gov, or contact your local NRCS field office.