USDA Reinvents CSP – Enrollment Deadline Feb.3, 2017
December 13, 2016
For over 15 years, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and other partners in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition have worked to create and support USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), which is designed to support farmers and ranchers as they actively manage and expand conservation activities on their agricultural land. MFAI and other NSAC partners have advocated for optimal provisions and funding for CSP in federal Farm Bills, promoted its sound implementation, and encouraged farmers to enroll in the program.
Since the program was first authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill, the program has grown dramatically! More than 70 million acres are already enrolled in CSP; this year NRCS is authorized to enroll 10 million new acres and to renew up to 12.8 million acres that are under five-year contracts that expire at the end of the fiscal year.
During the past two years, NRCS has been actively re-designing this important voluntary conservation program, and last month it announced many of the provisions under which CSP will operate henceforth. A brief summary of them is below.
NRCS also announced the deadline for signing up for CSP in 2017 – February 3, 2017! Even though farmers can apply for CSP at any time during the year, if you miss the cut-off you will need to wait a full year before your application is even considered. So it’s important to submit the initial application form by February 3 to secure your chance to enroll in 2017!
Submitting the initial CSP application is easy. It consists of a simple form that asks for information regarding land ownership, type of production, and contact information.
In order to support farmers as they consider applications to this year’s redesigned version of CSP, NSAC has released a CSP 2017 Information Alert and an updated version of its Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program. These resources provide the step-by-step sign-up and enrollment information producers need to easily access and benefit from CSP.
MFAI encourages farmers to use NSAC’s information about the new CSP and how to enroll for it soon. This will give you plenty of time to meet the February 3 deadline for 2017 enrollment.