Of the 21, 300 applications nationally to USDA to enroll land in the new Conservation Stewardship Program, 12% were made in Nebraska.
The first sign-up for this new version of CSP ended Sept. 30, although applications to enroll can be made continuously at Natural Resources Conservation Service offices. Another cutoff may be announced for later this year or early in 2010.
Dave White, NRCS chief at the federal level, says the 21,300 applications cover an estimated 33 million acres. However, Congress capped the national acreage enrollment at 12.7 million.
In Nebraska, Steve Chick, NRCS state conservationist, says that during the first sign-up for CSP, Nebraska had more than 2,650 applications for more 2.7 million acres, but the state's program allotment is just over 540,000 acres.
"CSP helps Nebraska farmers and ranchers achieve a higher level of conservation management," Chick says. "Conserving natural resources on private land benefits all of Nebraska."
CSP provides financial and technical assistance to eligible agricultural to conserve and enhance soil, water, air and related natural resources on their land, and asks producers to voluntarily implement more conservation practices and improve, maintain and manage existing ones.
Lands accepted into CSP include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. Another category is non-industrial private forest land.
Individual landowners/operators, legal entities, corporations and Indian tribes are eligible to apply for CSP assistance.
Nebraska operators who applied by the Sept. 30 deadline worked with NRCS staff to determine their eligibility for the program. The applications accepted have not been announced as yet.
For additional information about CSP, including eligibility requirements, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp, or visit your local NRCS field office.