March 15, 2018
Staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Minnesota are encouraging farmers to renew their expiring Conservation Stewardship Program contracts.
Participants with existing CSP contracts expiring Dec. 31, 2018, 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.
NRCS will mail contract renewal notification letters to all participants whose contracts expire in 2018, which will contain instructions on how to apply for renewal.
Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by April 13.
Through CSP, farmers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat — all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.
CSP also encourages the adoption of technologies and management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.
To review the Minnesota list of enhancements and conservation practices through CSP, visit NRCS Minnesota's Conservation Stewardship Program general information page.
Some of these benefits of CSP include improved cattle gains per acre, increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife population improvements and better resilience to weather extremes.
NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see upfront why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.
NRCS recommends that producers interested in CSP contact their local USDA service center or visit nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.
Source: NRCS Minnesota
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