Conservation Stewardship Program deadline is Jan. 7 |

Conservation Stewardship Program deadline is Jan. 7

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is still accepting new applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Operators may sign applications at any time under the continuous signup; however, those applications received by Jan. 7, 2011, will be considered for funding in the next ranking period.

The CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off dates for application ranking periods. The program, as authorized in the 2008 Farm bill, offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of conservation stewardship. Eligible land includes cropland, grassland, prairie, improved pastureland, non-industrial private forestland, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. Additional assistance is available to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

“South Dakota has been successful in previous signups,” said Rod Voss, CSP coordinator. “And I encourage producers that are interested in CSP to visit their local USDA Service Center before this application deadline.”

The CSP is a voluntary program, and is available statewide. Producers are encouraged to apply for CSP at their local NRCS office. A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments. It is available from local NRCS offices or online at: