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January 19, 2024
USDA has announced a statewide opportunity for Michigan agricultural and forest producers to receive increased federal funding through the Conservation Stewardship Program, if they apply by Feb. 16 at their local USDA service center.
USDA is increasing the minimum annual payment for agricultural and forest producers participating in CSP from $1,500 to $4,000, starting in fiscal 2024 for new and renewed CSP contracts.
“Increasing the minimum payment to CSP participants regardless of the size of their operation helps to make participation worthwhile for a larger number of producers,” says Garry Lee, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Michigan.
“Whether you measure your farm in square feet or acres, or you farm in the country or in the middle of the city, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has conservation assistance for you.”
CSP helps farmers and forest landowners to build on their existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operation. CSP participants earn an annual payment for five years, which enables them to achieve a greater level on conservation and stewardship.
Whether participants are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop resilience or develop wildlife habitat, NRCS says it can custom-design a CSP plan to help them meet those goals, providing technical and financial assistance.
The program is designed to compensate agricultural and forest producers who agree to increase their level of conservation by adopting additional practices and maintaining their baseline level of conservation.
New for fiscal 2024, NRCS in Michigan will prioritize funding for CSP practices and enhancements that are suitable for being adopted for small-scale and urban producers. Examples of CSP enhancements could include:
establishing pollinator habitat
mulching with natural materials
soil health crop rotation
These enhancements will assist with cultivating, processing and distributing agricultural products in urban and suburban areas. There’s no minimum agricultural income requirement or agricultural product value requirement for determining land or producer eligibility.
Currently, $19.5 billion in additional funding is available for oversubscribed programs such as CSP for five years through the Inflation Reduction Act and the 2018 Farm Bill, to assist producers installing conservation activities promoting climate-smart agriculture and forestry greenhouse gas mitigation.
NRCS recently announced it increased the number of climate-smart agricultural and forestry mitigation activities eligible for Inflation Reduction Act funding for fiscal 2024. A list of climate-smart practices can be found at your local NRCS field office.
NRCS accepts applications for its conservation programs year-round, but to be considered for funding under this sign-up, producers interested in CSP should apply by Feb. 16.
Funding is provided through a competitive process and will include an opportunity to address the unmet demand from producers who have previously sought funding.
For more information about assistance available, contact your local USDA service center.
Read more about:NRCS
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