USDA Encourages Landowners to Sign Up Now for Conservation Stewardship Program

DOVER, Del., May 11, 2010 – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist Jay Mar recently announced that Delaware landowners are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, and non-industrial forestland. The deadline to be considered for the next ranking and funding period is June 11, 2010.

“As a result of NRCS assistance, many private landowners in Delaware have voluntarily applied conservation practices with benefits to water quality, soil health, wildlife habitat and more,” said Mar. “CSP recognizes these producers and provides them with additional resources to move to the next level of natural resource conservation.”

Eligible producers may submit an application to enroll eligible land in CSP on a continuous basis. Producers are encouraged to apply for CSP now to ensure their applications will be considered during the next funding and ranking period. However, they can make their final decision to participate in the program once the CSP final rule is issued. The final rule will establish the policies and procedures for the program.

CSP offers payments for adding conservation practices and maintaining and managing existing conservation practices. CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off application dates for ranking periods. Enrollment is capped nationally at 12.7 million acres per year.

Potential applicants are encouraged to use the CSP self-screening checklist to determine if the new program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments. The checklist and additional information on CSP are available from local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service offices or on the NRCS Web site at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html.

For more information about other NRCS programs and services in Delaware, visit www.de.nrcs.usda.gov or call Jayme Arthurs, (302) 678-4191 or Dastina Johnson, (302) 678-4179.

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