Applications accepted for stewardship program

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, February 1, 2018

Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Through CSP, USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. According to a press release, NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.

While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2 to be considered for this funding period.

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Through this program, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat — all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Some of the benefits of the CSP include:

Improved cattle gains per acre

Increased crop yields

Decreased inputs

Wildlife population improvements

Better resilience to weather extremes

NRCS recently made several updates to the program  to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds and allow them to pick up practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

Producers interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit

For more information, contact district conservationist Gary Curer at 507-320-3736.