The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Forest and farm landowners must apply by June 14 to be considered for funding in 2013. CSP encourages agricultural producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations.
Applications may be made at any time at all USDA service centers. The program is open to all farmers and forestland owners, regardless of size or type of operation.
In 2012, 477 Wisconsin farmers and forestland owners enrolled in CSP, with an average payment of $6,415 per contract. More than $3 million in payments will be made to those farm families this year.
“For many farmers and forestland owners, CSP offers reward and recognition for the conservation that they are already doing, plus a little extra incentive to try new practices,” according to Michael Stinebrink, district conservationist for Florence, Forest, Oneida and Vilas counties. Stinebrink encourages interested farmers and forestland owners to apply now to be considered for funding.
Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and tribal agricultural lands.
For the 2012 sign-up, average payments in Wisconsin were $20 per acre for cropland, $14 per acre for pasture and $4 per acre for woodland. Payments are made annually for each of the five years of the contract. CSP is open to small and large operations, with farms already enrolled ranging from just a couple of acres to more 4,000 acres of cropland.
Farmers will need to document their current and proposed conservation practices which will be used to rank applications and determine payments. NRCS field staff will also conduct on-site field verification of applicants’ information.
For more information, visit wi.nrcs.usda.gov or contact Michael Stinebrink at (715) 362-5941, ext. 111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.