Conservation Stewardship Program deadline approaching
The Conservation Stewardship Program is a favorite with many producers because it allows them to receive payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities on acreage that remains in active production.
Through CSP, farmers and forest landowners earn payments from the Natural Resources Conservation Service for practices such as cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator habitat and enhanced nutrient management that enhance the sustainability of their operations.
In Virginia, more than 570 landowners are currently participating to grow their businesses while reaping environmental benefits for themselves and the community at large.
CSP participants can receive Existing Activity Payments for upkeep on conservation activities to address resource concerns met at the time of application and may also benefit from these additional options available due to changes in the 2018 Farm Bill:
- New supplemental payment for advanced grazing management
- Higher payment rates for certain conservation measures, including cover crops and resource-conserving crop rotations
- Specific support for organic operations and those transitioning to organic production.
“CSP is the largest conservation program in the United States and is growing in popularity here in Virginia with more than 240,000 acres currently enrolled,” said Assistant State Conservationist for Programs Patrick Vincent. ““I encourage Virginia producers to consider participating to reap a wide range of benefits that include increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather.”
CSP is for working lands (crop, pasture, nonindustrial forest and tribal ag land) and also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications and new soil amendments to improve water quality.
While NRCS conducts continuous sign-ups for the program, interested operators must submit their applications by April 30 to be considered for funding in Fiscal Year 2021.