Congressional delays led to an extension for signup in the Conservation Stewardship Program, better known as CSP. You can now complete an enrollment form by June 14. Forestland owners are also eligible.
There was a rumor going around earlier this year that this program was discontinued, but that's not the case. CSP rewards farmers with payment per acre for conservation practices they implement on their land.
Signing up for the program doesn't mean you will get accepted or obtain benefits. What happens after you sign up is a session with Natural Resources Conservation Service staff to complete what's called the Conservation Measurement Tool, which gives NRCS personnel and idea of what you're doing on your farm.
After completing the CMT, your NRCS contact will be able to determine if you can continue in the process and enroll in the program. He or she should also be able to determine what the level of conservation payment would be in your CSP contract.
Completing the CMT isn't the end of the application process. If you reach that stage, an NRCS person will visit your farm to complete the enrollment process. Basically, CSP awards technical and financial assistance to farmers already adopting and maintaining high conservation standards and doing a good job of environmental stewardship.
NRCA is expected to accept slightly more than 12 million acres into the program this year. More than 38,999 individuals have enrolled over 50 million acres since the program first started in 2009. Most of the land is placed under 5-year, renewable CSP contracts when it enters the program.
If you have questions about the program, visit your NRCS office. Remember that the initial sign-up runs until June 14.