The Natural Resources Conservation Service, beginning this week, is holding 108 public meetings across Nebraska by the end of August for producers to learn about the new Conservation Stewardship Program.
Steve Chick, NRCS state conservationist, says this program was announced Aug.10 by USDA officials. Farm and ranch operators will have until Sept. 30 to apply for this first program sign-up at local NRCS offices.
This is the first nationwide sign-up for this program. Previous sign-ups under a similar program, called the Conservation Security Program, were on a watershed or area basis.
The Conservation Stewardship Program is a voluntary program that encourages ag producers to maintain existing conservation practices and adopt news ones in their operations. This program was authorized through 2017 in the 2008 Farm Bill.
While Sept. 30 is the deadline for the first round of CSP contracts, NRCS will be taking applications on a continuous sign-up. Another round of sign-ups and additional funding may be available later for those who apply after Sept. 30.
"During the application process the operator will have to provide some documentation of their operations, and if they rent land be able to show control of the land for the length of a five year contract," says Chick.
There are also some operators, especially grazing folks, that may not have a Farm Service Agency number for their operations. That number will be needed for the CSP application. The meetings will give more producers time to get ready, he adds.
CSP is not a cost-share program but rather pays for conservation work already accomplished and offers incentives to apply additional conservation practices.
Further information is available at any NRCS office or the Nebraska website of www.ne.nrcs.usda.gov or the national NRCS website www.nrcs.usda.gov .
To learn about a CSP meeting near you this month, contact your local NRCS office.