Gary O’Neill, USDA-NRCS State Conservationist for Oklahoma, has announced that applications are being accepted for new enrollments in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for the 2014 federal fiscal year. Starting last week through Jan.17, 2014, producers can submit applications to NRCS.
“Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.”
O’Neill stated “The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat”.
Weller said this announcement is another example of USDA’s comprehensive focus on promoting environmental conservation and strengthening the rural economy, and it is a reminder that a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill is pivotal to continue these efforts. CSP is now in its fifth year and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation.
The program emphasizes conservation performance---producers earn higher payments for higher performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.
Eligible landowners and operators in Oklahoma can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.
Learn more about CSP by viewing the NRCS website at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov or visit your local Shawnee NRCS Field Office at 201 N Bell Rm 111 Shawnee, OK 74801 or by calling 405-273-2076 ext 3.