State Conservationist Don Baloun says that USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service in Minnesota received 1,594 applications for the first Conservation Stewardship Program ranking period of the fiscal year.
This level of interest is among the highest in the program's history.
Nationwide, NRCS received 17,654 applications for CSP. NRCS expects to enroll a total of 10.8 million acres into the program in fiscal year 2012.
"Farmers and ranchers in Minnesota who are deeply committed to being even better stewards of natural resources have proved once again that CSP is a program that works for them," Baloun said. "We are absolutely thrilled at this great interest in CSP and look forward to working with those who are selected to bring the benefits of quality conservation to their operations."
CSP offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland.
CSP is offered in all 50 states, tribal lands and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups. Administered by NRCS, this Farm Bill program provides many conservation benefits including improved water, soil, and air quality, decreased soil erosion, and enhanced wildlife habitat.
Learn more about CSP and find links to other NRCS programs and initiatives at http://go.usa.gov/nvU.
Source: Minnesota NRCS