U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced in late September that the Middle Iowa watershed, in east central Iowa, is eligible for the 2007 Conservation Security Program (CSP). It is the only Iowa watershed which is eligible for CSP next fiscal year.
Final decisions on which watersheds will be included in the 2007 signup will not be made until after the program budget is finalized. Currently there are 51 watersheds in 50 states, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Area, which may be included in this latest round of CSP watersheds.
"This is the fourth year the Conservation Security Program has recognized farmers and ranchers for their ongoing stewardship on working agricultural lands," Johanns said in a press release. "Our investment in this voluntary program has already proved beneficial by creating many successful cooperative public-private partnerships across the nation."
Fall tillage may make you ineligible
The Middle Iowa covers more than 1 million acres and includes parts of Grundy, Story, Marshall, Tama, Benton, Linn, Jasper, Poweshiek, Iowa and Johnson counties. There are 2,781 farms in the watershed, which also includes the Mesquakie Indian settlement. This is a 4,300-acre tribally-owned federal reservation with a population of about 580.
Eligible watersheds are being announced now to allow farmers adequate time to gather resource information on their operations in preparation for a prospective sign-up. According to Rick Van Klaveren, state conservationist for NRCS in Iowa, this announcement is well timed for Iowa producers preparing for harvest and their post-harvest land management decisions.
"Soil quality is a very important factor when figuring a farmer’s eligibility for CSP," he says. "Anyone considering tillage operations or manure applications this fall should carefully consider how those operations may impact CSP eligibility."
CSP is a voluntary program that supports ongoing conservation stewardship on private agricultural working lands and enhances the condition of the nation's natural resources. Under this program, USDA rewards farmers who practice good stewardship on agricultural lands and offers incentives to increase the use of conservation practices.
For more information about CSP, including a map of the Middle Iowa watershed, visit www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp.html.