Conservation Program Deadline—Two Weeks Away

Farmers and ranchers have until February 27 to sign up for the largest federal conservation program.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) rewards farmers and ranchers for conservation and environmental benefits produced from working agricultural lands. Private agricultural land, including crop, pasture, and rangeland, is eligible to enroll.

Farmers with CSP contracts may receive payments for activities such as cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and the transition to organic farming. CSP is the nation’s largest conservation program by acreage and is widely popular among farmers and ranchers. Since the program began in 2009, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled in the program.

Farmers and ranchers must submit applications to their local NRCS office by February 27 for consideration in 2015. Applications are scored and ranked based upon current and planned conservation activities. CSP contracts are awarded to the highest ranking applications.

CSP contracts last for five years and are eligible for renewal. So if you enrolled in CSP in 2011, then you are in your final contract year and may apply to renew. You must submit your request to renew to local NRCS offices by March 31.

If you are unsure whether CSP is right for you, check out NRCS’ Self-Screening Checklist.