December 28, 2011 —
PENNSYLVANIA — The cutoff date for farmers to apply to participate in the 2012 sign-up for the Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is January 13.
The CSP is a working lands conservation program available on a nationwide basis. It offers technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship.
The enrollment process is competitive, based on environmental benefits, and will be even more competitive than usual in 2012 as the total acres to be enrolled will be as much as a third less than the 12.8 million acre per year level provided by the 2008 Farm Bill. The 2012 iteration of CSP will have an enrollment cap between nine and 10 million acres due to a budget cut to the program made by Congress in the FY 2012 Agricultural Appropriations Act.
Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forest lands and agricultural land under tribal jurisdiction. Applicants must demonstrate they have effective control over these lands to be eligible, either through ownership or reasonably secure leases.
For more information, download a guide to the stewardship program from sustainableagriculture.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/NSAC-Farmers-Guide-to-CSP-2011.pdf.