CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — State Conservationist Ivan Dozier announced the deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding in fiscal year (FY) 2020 is May 29, 2020. Illinois Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest up to $10 million for new CSP contracts in FY 2020.
The 2018 Farm Bill made several changes to this critical conservation program, which helps agricultural producers take the conservation activities on their farm to the next level. “CSP continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” said Ivan Dozier, NRCS State Conservationist in Illinois.
While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by May 29, 2020, to ensure their applications are considered for 2020 funding.
Changes to the Program
The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes NRCS to obligate new CSP contracts from now until 2023, while making some important improvements to the program. These updates include:
- NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on available dollars rather than acres. For fiscal year 2020, Illinois NRCS can spend up to $10 million for new CSP contracts, which covers part of the cost for producers to implement new conservation activities and maintain their existing activities for the five-year contract period.
- Higher payment rates are now available for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and supplemental payments for resource-conserving crop rotations and advanced grazing management systems.
- CSP now provides specific support for activities on organic operations and those transitioning to organic production.
About the Program
CSP is offered in Illinois through a continuous sign-up. The program provides many benefits including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements, and increased resilience to weather extremes. CSP is for working lands, including cropland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forest land.
For additional information about CSP, contact your local USDA service center. Due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, producers may set up phone appointments with their local NRCS office if they have any questions or need information.
— Illinois USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
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