You still have until Friday of this week to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program. USDA extended the deadline, but it's not anticipated that it will be extended further.
Jane Hardisty, state soil conservationist with NRCS, says the ranking period was extended to give more producers a chance to consider participating in the program. This is the USDA program that offers a payment per acre to those already doing good things on the land, and who agree to adopt even higher levels of conservation farming.
An application is involved, so you will need to act quickly. Visit your local NRCS office today, Hardisty says.
The assistant state conservationist in charge of Farm Bill programs in Indiana, Teresah Caire, says over $5.9 million is available for Indiana producers in this program this year. There are no guarantees what will happen to the program when the new Farm Bill debate and passage occurs, whenever that might be.
You can learn more about CSP at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs. Included on the Website is a self-screening checklist for the CSP program which may help you determine if you could qualify. The same checklist is also available at NRCS offices.
The second piece of news is that USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced release of funds for help in repairing damage done by natural disasters last year to agricultural areas in 33 states and Puerto Rico. The announced programs involve direct support, technical assistance and access to credit.Early information supplied by NRCS staff in Indianapolis indicated that Indiana would receive a share of these funds. The share for Indiana is expected to be $195,827. Of that total amount of money, some $163,000 will be for financial assistance. How the money will be allocated and exactly who will be eligible was not yet available at press time. Contact your local USDA service center, and the local NRCS and Farm Service Agency office for more details.