Nebraska landowners signed 348 Conservation Security Program contracts this year, 8% of all contracts approved nationwide.
USDA reported in June the results of the CSP enrollment in the Upper Little Blue Watershed, which covers parts of nine counties in southeast and south central Nebraska, says John Mayberger, CSP program manager for the Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Nebraska.
This is the third year of the USDA conservation program that pays qualifying landowners for the soil and water conservation practices used on their cropland and pastures.
The payment total for all 2006 contract holders in the aforementioned Nebraska watershed is $4,993,378 for the first year. Over the life of the 348 contracts, these landowners will receive $40,543,566.
Nationally, 4,404 CSP contracts were approved, covering 3.7 million acres in 60 watersheds.
Enrollment in those watersheds, including the Upper Little Blue Watershed, occurred from mid-February to March 31, 2006.
CSP has been available only in selected watersheds since it began three years ago. It pays farmers who are good stewards of soil and water resources.
According to Mayberger, most 2006 contracts in the Upper Little Blue Watershed fell in the Tier II and Tier III categories, as opposed to previous CSP watersheds where Tier I contracts, the basic level, were predominant.
NRCS has not announced the next Nebraska watershed. USDA will select the watershed, based on the stateâ€™s recommendation. Additionally, USDA has not announced the funding level for the next CSP.