Thursday, April 6, 2017

Just in

USDA Offers Renewal Options for Expiring Conservation Stewardship Program Contracts
Program Helps Producers Improve Health, Productivity of Working Lands

BOISE – Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist for Idaho, Curtis Elke, has announced that a contract renewal sign-up is under way for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), USDA’s largest working lands conservation program with 614,518 active acres enrolled in Idaho alone. NRCS made several updates to the popular program last fall.  These changes help producers better evaluate conservation options that benefit their operations while improving the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, and soil health building activities – all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land. Benefits to producers can include:
  • Improved cattle gains per acre;
  • Increased crop yields;
  • Decreased inputs;
  • Wildlife population improvements; and
  • Better resilience to weather extremes.

Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire on Dec. 31 can access the benefits of the recent program changes through an option to renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by May 5.

“In addition to CSP re-enrollment, there is another conservation program open to Idaho producers that help ensure the continuity and productivity of their farm or ranch,” said Elke. “The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program is a great option for those who are looking for a long-term conservation solution.”

Producers interested in contract renewals or applying for CSP for the first time or in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program should visit contact their local USDA service center to learn more.

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