Ag Policy Blog

USDA Details Enrollment Period for CSP

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Interseeded cover crops photo by Jonathon Martin for DTN/The Progressive Farmer

You may be busy with spring planting, calving season, or in the case of many in the Midwest, flood recovery, but USDA has announced now is the time to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program. And the deadline is a little tight.

USDA detailed the enrollment period on Friday. You have until May 10 to get your application into for CSP into your local Natural Resources and Conservation Service office.

The 2018 farm bill allows NRCS to follow the rules of the last farm bill for this enrollment period, but there are some changes. These updates include:

-NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres. For fiscal 2019, NRCS can spend up to $700 million in the program, which covers part of the cost for producers implementing new conservation activities and maintaining their existing activities.

-Higher payment rates are now available for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource-conserving crop rotations.

-CSP now provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities and a special grassland conservation initiative for certain producers who have maintained cropland base acres.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition highlighted there are more than 70 million acres in CSP right now and the new enrollment provide an opportunity to advance whole-farm conservation. "CSP helps producers to improve their profitability and sustainability by protecting and enhancing soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat across millions of acres of agricultural land,” NSAC said.

“With less than a month until the enrollment deadline, we urge farmers to take the first step to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program in 2019,” said Alyssa Charney, NSAC senior policy specialist. “CSP is the only conservation program that provides support for comprehensively addressing natural resources across an entire operation. With farmers and ranchers up against increasing pressures from a changing climate and the downturn in the farm economy, CSP offers opportunity to build both profitability and sustainability.”

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