Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director of Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs, says the extension of the deadline for producer applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program is welcome. The original deadline was set for Nov. 1, which is busy harvest time for many farmers. The new deadline is now Jan. 7, 2011 and Bruckner says this will provide farmers and ranchers more time to complete their applications, including going through the Conservation Measurement Tool.
Bruckner is encouraging farmers, ranchers and others to call the Center for Rural Affairs' Farm Bill Helpline with questions about the application process and to share their experiences, both positive and negative.
"We know the previous sign-ups have yielded some great success stories for farmers and ranchers, but also some disappointments and frustrations," Bruckner said. "The Helpline number is (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline."
The Conservation Stewardship Program is a voluntary stewardship incentives program, administered by USDA's NRCS, designed to reward farmers, ranchers, and forestry producers who maintain existing conservation, as well as for the adoption of additional conservation measures that provide multiple environmental benefits that run beyond the farm or ranch. This program pays producers for clean water, better soil management, improved habitat, energy efficiency, and other natural resource benefits.