January 23, 2018
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service — Alabama
Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) by March 2 to be considered for the current funding period. Applications are accepted year-round.
Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities such as cover crops, ecologically based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat — all while maintaining active agriculture production. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage, planting for high carbon sequestration rate and new soil amendments to improve water quality.
Some benefits include
- Improved cattle gains per acre;
- Increased crop yields;
- Decreased inputs;
- Wildlife population improvements; and
- Better resilience to weather extremes.
NRCS recently updated the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources.
New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.
Producers interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit the NRCS website.