WASHINGTON, April 17, 2013 – USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will soon begin the 2013 enrollment process for farmers and ranchers who want to participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition issued a five-page Information Alert on the 2013 sign-up.
“With NRCS very close to making the announcement of the cut-off date for applications for this year, which will likely be 30 days from the date of the announcement, now is the time for farmer to get their applications submitted,” said NSAC Policy Associate Greg Fogel.
This year’s enrollment was delayed for six months while Congress negotiated and passed a final “continuing resolution” for the funding of government programs. The delay means this year’s cut-off date for applications is later in the year than usual and the agency will have to move quickly through the enrollment process in order to finish on time.
“Many farmers have already submitted applications at their NRCS State Conservationist office,” Fogel said. “But others understandably may have been reluctant to apply without more detailed information on the sign-up and date on which NRCS will start accepting applications."
CSP is a working lands conservation program that rewards farmer and ranchers for the conservation and environmental benefits they produce. Administered by NRCS and available on a nationwide basis, CSP offers technical and financial assistance to farmers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Assistance is geared to both the active management of existing conservation systems and for implementing new conservation activities on land in agricultural production.
It is estimated that over 12 million acres of farm and ranch land will be enrolled in the program this year.
In the first four enrollment years for CSP (2009-2012), more than 39,000 farmers and ranchers have enrolled over 50 million acres of farm and ranch land, land that is now under five-year, renewable CSP conservation contracts valued at $680 million a year.
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