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Conservation Stewardship Program Sign-up Begins
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/28/2015

The USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will make available $100 million this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program. Although applications are accepted all year, farmers and forest landowners should submit applications by February 27 to ensure they are considered for this year's funding.

"CSP is a way of incentivizing farmers and private forest managers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship," said State Conservationist Jimmy Bramblett. "By focusing on multiple resource concerns, landowners are able to achieve a sustainable landscape and maintain or increase the productivity of their operations."

Through CSP, participants take additional conservation steps to improve the resource conditions on their land, including soil, air and habitat quality, water quality and quantity, and energy conservation. Bramblett said CSP producers are conservation leaders, showing how science-based conservation and technological advancements can improve the environment and farming operations at the same time.

The 2014 farm bill brought changes to CSP including an expanded conservation activity list that will offer participants greater options to meet their conservation needs and protect the natural resources on their land. These conservation activities, called enhancements, include cover crops, intensive rotational grazing and wildlife friendly fencing.

Applications should be submitted to local NRCS offices. As part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete a resource inventory of their land, which will help determine the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities.

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