INDIANAPOLIS — On March 11, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist Mike Cox announced that Indiana is now accepting applications for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program. While applications are accepted year-round, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by June 1, 2020, to be considered for this funding period.
CSP is a Farm Bill Program for producers who are already established conservation stewards and who want to add more conservation benefits on their land, such as improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.
In addition to general CSP funds, additional CSP funds are available through two targeted Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) projects. The Improving Working Lands for Monarch Butterflies Partnership will restore, manage and conserve wildlife habitat for monarch butterflies on agricultural and tribal lands using four main strategies: conservation planning and assessment; habitat improvement and best management practices; building an adequate seed supply for milkweed and nectar plants; and, enhancing organizational coordination and capacity. The Big Pine Watershed Partnership will further conservation in Indiana’s Big Pine watershed through the targeted implementation of nutrient and sediment reducing practices to achieve watershed water quality objectives.
“CSP helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation activities that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation,” said Cox. “The program provides many benefits including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather extremes.”
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and management techniques, such as precision agriculture applications and on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and soil amendments to improve water quality.
CSP is for private working lands including cropland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe. Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts on their land are encouraged to apply.
Information about CSP, including national and state ranking questions and enhancement descriptions, is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/csp. This one-stop shop, which provides information to help individuals determine whether CSP is right for them, will be continually updated as more information becomes available. More information about the RCPP projects can be found by visiting: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/in/programs/farmbill/rcpp/stelprdb1248173/.
For more information about Indiana NRCS and other technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.in.nrcs.usda.gov or contact your District Conservationist https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/in/contact/local/.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Indiana office
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