DOVER, Del. — Delaware farmers are encouraged to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). CSP offers financial and technical assistance to help producers and landowners take conservation efforts to the next level while strengthening their operation.
USDA NRCS accepts CSP applications year-round; however, to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2023, Delaware producers and landowners should apply by March 24.
“CSP offers incentives to producers for maintaining a high level of stewardship on their land and helps them implement more robust conservation activities to achieve their management goals,” said Kasey Taylor, Delaware NRCS State Conservationist.
Through CSP, Delaware offers the following conservation enhancements, among others:
- planting cover crop mixes to alleviate compaction, or the use of a soil health assessment to assist with the development of a cover crop mix to improve soil health;
- forage collection and analysis for improved harvest decisions in line with nutritional needs;
- evaluation of irrigation pumping plants and upgrades to address energy efficiencies; and
- reducing invasive species, improving timber stands and creating wildlife habitat by creating snag and den trees, forest stand structural diversity, and enhancing native bat habitat on forest land.
CSP provides an incentive payment for existing conservation activities in conjunction with new activities to address and enhance resource concerns for an increased environmental benefit on the land.
The Conservation Stewardship Program is for working lands including cropland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe. Participating farmers will further address priority resource concerns related to soil quality, water quality, air quality, and plant health. On-farm benefits include increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements, and better resilience to weather variables.
Producers interested in CSP should call their local USDA service center. In Delaware’s Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, ext. 3; in Kent County, call 302-741-2600, ext. 3; and in New Castle County, call 302-832-3100, ext. 3. Or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/de for more information.
–Dastina Wallace, USDA, NRCS