Farmers reach 50 million-acre mark in voluntary USDA conservation program

WASHINGTON —  In just four years, America’s top conservationists have enrolled 50 million acres in USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners take conservation to the next level.

Conservation

CSP is aimed at producers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.

The land enrolled in CSP totals more than 78,000 square miles, an area larger than Pennsylvania and South Carolina combined, making the program one of the largest voluntary conservation programs for private lands offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Enrollment

Nearly 12.2 million acres, or 18,750 square miles, were added to the program’s rolls this year. Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP. NRCS local offices accept CSP applications year round and evaluate applications during announced ranking periods.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.

Details

It is available from local NRCS offices and on the CSP website: http://go.usa.gov/g9dx. Learn more about CSP and other NRCS programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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