Sunday, September 13, 2009

Conservation Stewardship

Driggs CRP by Steve Ritter

BOISE--Agriculture producers could be rewarded for conserving natural resources on their land. The Conservation Stewardship Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service encourages producers to maintain and initiate conservation practices with monetary incentives.

The program offers two payment types: an annual payment for maintaining existing conservation practices and adopting new ones and a supplemental payment for adopting resource conserving crop rotations. The per acre payments range from $12 to $22 for cropland, $7 to $ 14 for pasture, $5 to $10 for rangeland, and $6 to $12 for forestland. A supplemental payment, available only for cropland, adds an additional $12 to $16 for the cropland rotation.

“The Conservation Stewardship Program recognizes those who are already doing work to conserve their land and are willing to undertake additional activities,” said Jeff Burwell. “We see this as a great opportunity for producers to get rewarded for their conservation efforts.”

The program is voluntary and open to both agriculture and forestry producers. Approved applicants will develop a conservation stewardship plan outlining current conservation activities and new treatments for resource concerns on their land

There is a continuous sign-up for this program however the first funding cycle closes on September 30.

“The benefit of getting in this first cycle is there is less competition because of the short sign up period. We have funding to sign up 164,000 acres in Idaho before Sept 30,” Burwell added.

The payment cap is $40,000 per year with a $200,000 maximum for the five year contract period.

The first step to apply is completing a self-screening checklist to determine if the Conservation Stewardship Program is suitable for you. The checklist is available at NRCS field offices and on the NRCS Web site at

The application process requires that you
1.) Have farm records established with USDA Farm Service Agency,
2.) Be the operator of the land,
3.) Provide evidence that they have control of the land for 5 years, and;
4.) Provide a map delineating their entire agriculture or forestry operation.

For information on the program in general, eligibility, or a list of conservation activities, visit your local NRCS office. To find the office nearest you, look for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the government pages of the phonebook. Or, on the “Find a Service Center” page on the NRCS Web page

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