USDA NRCS “Conservation Stewardship Program”

Program offers incentives for farmers to undertake conservation activities.

Are you interested in addressing resource concerns on your farm? If so, you may be eligible for technical and financial assistance to conserve soil, water and air resources through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary program that offers farmers and land owners incentives for improving conservation practices on their land. One main incentive of interest to growers is financial assistance. According to the USDA NRCS, the higher the level of conservation, the higher the payment. Applicants must sign a 5-year agreement with the USDA. Covered activities include but are not limited to: enhancing wildlife habitat, prescriptive grazing management, cover cropping and no-till agriculture.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has developed a comprehensive informational alert. It offers a useful chart of eligible conservation activities sorted by their score, which can help farmers develop a successful application.

Applications are due January 17, 2014. For specific information on the USDA NRCS CSP, please visit the USDA NRCS website. Once you are familiar with the CSP, your best bet is to contact your local USDA Service Center NRCS representative to set up appointment at your local Service Center. You may also contact your local Michigan State University Extension office for assistance as well.

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