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At the intersection of food, soil, climate, farming and water.

USDA Conservation Stewardship Program taking applications by March 31st

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that $150 million in funding is available for agricultural producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program. CSP provides annual payments to private and tribal agricultural producers for their environmental performance.

“The Conservation Stewardship Program provides payments to agricultural producers for their efforts to reduce soil erosion, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat. Producers also utilize the program to implement additional conservation enhancements on their land like cover crops and nutrient management,” said State Conservationist Garry Lee of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Conservation Stewardship Program is administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Farmers and private forest owners have until March 31, to apply for 2016 funding. Current CSP participants whose contracts are expiring in 2016 must also submit an application by March 31, if they want to renew their program contracts. Applications for CSP are accepted continuously but only applications submitted by the cut-off date will be considered for 2016 funds.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is compatible with their operation. As part of the application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete a resource inventory of their land to determine the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities. The applicant’s conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking and payments.

Through CSP, USDA has provided more than $4 billion since 2009 in assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest managers to enhance conservation on more than 70 million acres. For more information about CSP contact your local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office and go to