USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service news release
The new Conservation Stewardship Program rewards agricultural producers for how they farm, not just what they grow. The new program is a revamped and better-funded version of the old Conservation Security Program.
Under the new program, farmers nationwide can start applying now. “We are not limiting sign-ups to certain watersheds as we’ve done in the past,” said Bruce Petersen, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the agency administering the program. “The new rules are simpler and targeted to addressing additional environmental problems.”
The sign-up period for the new CSP is continuous, but Nevada producers need to sign up by Sept. 30 to be considered in the first ranking period.
Public meetings are being held to inform interested applicants about the new program. They will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Elko Aug. 18 (USDA Service Center), Eureka Aug. 19 (Cooperative Extension Office), Fallon Aug. 20 (USDA Service Center), Lovelock Aug. 24 (USDA Service Center), Orovada Aug. 25 (Community Center), Paradise Valley Aug. 26 (Fire Hall) and Yerington Aug. 27 (Public Library).
Eligible applicants may include individual landowners, legal entities and Indian tribes. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial private forestland.
Potential participants should contact Rod Dahl, programs specialist, at (775) 857-8500 x 146 for assistance. Producers can also use a self-screening checklist to first determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation, available on the NRCS Web site at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp/. More information about CSP, including eligibility requirements, is also available on the Web site.
USDA is finalizing the program’s policies and procedures. The CSP interim final rule, published in the Federal Register, is open for public comment through Sept. 28.