USDA Offers Renewal Options for Expiring Conservation Stewardship Program Contracts

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Published Thursday, April 13, 2017

Applications to renew expiring contracts are due by May 5, 2017

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that participants with existing Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) contracts that will expire on December 31, 2017 now have an opportunity for a renewal sign-up.  Applications are being accepted until May 5, 2017.  Producers interested in contract renewals or applying for CSP for the first time should visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp or contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field office located within the USDA service center that services their county.

NRCS is a federal agency within the USDA and it managed and administers the CSP program.  NRCS has made several updates to the popular program last fall.  These changes help producers better evaluate conservation options that benefit their operations while improving the health and productivity of private and Tribal working lands.

Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire on December 31, 2017 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.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, buffer strips, pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, and soil health building activities - all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land.  Benefits to producers can include:

*Improved cattle gains per acre

*Increased crop yields

*Decreased inputs

*Wildlife population improvements

*Increased resilience to weather extremes

For more information about NRCS and the financial and technical assistance it provides, visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov.  Producers interested in contract renewals or applying for CSP for the first time should visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp or contact the local NRCS field office located in USDA Service Center.