The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that it is accepting Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) renewal applications through March 31 for over 11,000 contracts set to end this year. CSP is USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with more than 90 million acres enrolled.
“In fiscal year 2020, NRCS helped enhance 9.3 million acres of land enrolled in CSP,” said Terry Cosby, acting Chief for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “CSP continues to prove its worth by helping farmers and ranchers advance their business operations through conservation enhancements on their land that sustain the natural resources that improve productivity and their bottom lines.”
Participants with existing CSP contracts that close on December 31, 2021, can benefit from recent program changes by renewing their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional conservation practices on their land. Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by March 31.
About the Program
CSP is for working lands, including cropland, pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial forestland as well as tribal lands. The program helps producers build on existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operations. CSP provides many benefits, including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and resiliency to weather extremes. It also encourages the adoption of new technologies and innovative management techniques.
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator and beneficial insect habitat and soil health activities while maintaining active agricultural production on their land.
Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorize NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments through 2023 and make additional improvements to the program, including higher payment rates for specific conservation activities on working lands.
While USDA offices are currently closed to visitors because of the pandemic, Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. To conduct business, please contact your local USDA Service Center. Additionally, more information related to USDA’s response and relief for producers can be found at farmers.gov/coronavirus .