ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) applications to be considered for funding in Maryland this year is April 2, 2021. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.
“CSP continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” said Terron Hillsman, NRCS state conservationist in Maryland. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.”
Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorize NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments until 2023 and makes some improvements to the program. Highlights include:
- NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres.
- Higher payment rates are now available under the 2018 Farm Bill for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations.
- Provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities and a special grassland conservation initiative for certain producers who have maintained cropland base acres.
While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure their applications are considered for 2021 funding.
&About the Program
CSP is offered in Maryland through continuous signups. 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, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe.
Learn more about CSP and other Farm Bill programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/farmbill.
–Genevieve Lister, USDA, NRCS