March 21, 2008
March 21, 2008 - Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced sign-up for the Conservation Security Program (CSP) that will be available starting on April 18 to approximately 64,000 potentially eligible farms and ranches in 51 watersheds covering more than 23.7 million acres. The CSP sign-up is open in the 51 watersheds from April 18 to May 16.
CSP is a voluntary conservation program that supports ongoing stewardship of private, agricultural working lands and rewards those producers who are meeting the highest standards of conservation and environmental management on their operations.
Payments can include three components: an annual stewardship component for the base level of conservation treatment; an annual component for maintenance of existing conservation practices; and an enhancement component for exceptional conservation effort. Enhancement activities could include limited pesticide applications, renewable energy generation and widening existing riparian forest buffers for restoring critical stream habitat.
To apply for the CSP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) asks potential participants to complete a CSP self-assessment workbook-available on the Web or from local NRCS offices-to find out if their operation meets the requirements of the program and qualifies for program participation. The self-assessment process is completed using a self-screening questionnaire for each land use to be enrolled. When this process is completed, the producer submits the CSP workbook to the local NRCS office during the sign-up period and meets with NRCS personnel to go over any additional needed documentation. NRCS will then determine if eligibility requirements are met and provide options for the producer's decision on enrollment category placement.
Additional information on CSP, including eligible watersheds and a CSP self-assessment workbook, is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp