On your own time and in the comfort of your home you can do a self-assessment to see if you qualify for USDA's Conservation Security Program (CSP). A new workbook is available for potential participants in the 2005 winter sign-up for the program.
"The workbook is significant because 'self-assessment' is a new way of doing business with NRCS. Used as a pilot that proved successful in last yearâ€™s program, farmers and ranchers can assess their potential eligibility by themselves on their own time at their convenience," says Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Bruce Knight.
The initial self-assessment will help producers identify whether their individual agricultural operation meets sign-up criteria and answer the question, "Have I fully addressed the minimum requirements for both soil quality and water quality on the land I manage?" By going through the workbook, producers will get an initial idea about whether they are eligible for CSP at this time. NRCS state offices will be preparing supplements to the self-assessment workbook that further explain program requirements and add any needed emphasis or explanation for local conditions.
Producers who may not be eligible at this time can find out about other USDA programs that can help them achieve a higher level of conservation so that they may apply for CSP in the future.
In fiscal year 2005. CSP will be available to eligible farmers and ranchers in 202 watersheds across the nation during a sign-up to be held this winter. The CSP self-assessment workbook is available in hardcopy or compact disk (CD) from local NRCS offices and online at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp. Also at that Web site is a map of the CSP watersheds and additional information on the program.