USDA announces Mar. 26 application cutoff for Conservation Stewardship program
The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding this year is Mar. 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.
Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.
“CSP continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” said Luis Cruz-Arroyo, NRCS Caribbean Area Director. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.”
Last year, 10 farmers in the Caribbean Area signed up more than 1,000 acres of farmland in CSP, for more than $130,500 in funding. For example, in Utuado and Jayuya CSP helps coffee producers to implement reduced tillage, nutrient management, tree establishment and riparian forest buffer practices to increase vegetative cover, improving soil health and water availability and quality.
Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorize NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from now until 2023 and makes some improvements to the program. These updates include:
- NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres.
- Higher payment rates are now available under the 2018 Farm Bill for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations.
- Provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities and a special grassland conservation initiative for certain producers who have maintained cropland base acres.
While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure their applications are considered for 2021 funding, the agency said.