CSP sign ups are under way
Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 8:01 pm
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is taking applications for the new Conservation Stewardship Program. The program encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by installing and adopting new conservation activities and by improving, maintaining and managing existing activities.
State Conservationist Kevin Brown says the new CSP will result in conservation benefits statewide. “CSP has been expanded throughout Tennessee this year,” Brown said. “The benefits of the program assist in addressing global climate change; improving our water and soil quality; and encouraging environmentally responsible energy production. We hope that agriculture and forestry producers in Tennessee take full advantage of the benefits this newly revised program offers.” CSP offers continuous sign-up, but the first application cutoff for ranking purposes is scheduled for Sept. 30.
The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) authorized the Conservation Stewardship Program. Congress renamed and revamped the former Conservation Security Program completely to improve its availability and appeal to agricultural and forestry producers. The maximum annual enrollment is capped at nearly 12.8 million acres.
NRCS administers CSP, a voluntary conservation program designed to encourage producers to adopt additional conservation practices and improve, maintain and manage existing ones. To apply for CSP, producers are encouraged to use a self-screening checklist first to determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation. The checklist is available on NRCS Web sites and at NRCS field offices.
A producer must treat at least one resource concern and one priority resource concern during the length of the five-year CSP contract. Tennessee has selected four priority resource concerns that will be used to rank applications: plants, animals, soil erosion and water quality.
CSP offers two types of payments — annual and supplemental. Annual payments are available for installing additional conservation activities as scheduled and for maintaining existing activities. Supplemental payments are available for participants receiving annual payment who also adopt a resource-conserving crop rotation. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, improved pastureland and non-industrial private forestland — a new land use for the program.
For more information, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp/. For information about Tennessee programs, visit www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/.
Published in The Messenger 8.25.09
Natural Resources Conservation Service