Tuesday, April 9, 2019

NRCS-PA: PA Farmers, Landowners Have Until May 10 To Sign Up For Conservation Stewardship Program

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service-PA is now offering Pennsylvania farmers and forestry producers more options for taking their land management to the next level with the revised Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
While NRCS conducts continuous sign-ups for the program, interested producers must submit their applications by May 10 to be considered for FY19 funding.
Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, enhanced nutrient management, buffer strips and pollinator habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.
SP is for working lands (crop, pasture and nonindustrial forest land) and helps agricultural producers build their business while implementing conservation practices to enhance the sustainability of the entire operation.
The 2018 Farm Bill made several changes to this critical conservation program that will benefit Pennsylvania farmers. Highlights include:
-- Enrollment of eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars (not acres) to cover part of the cost for implementing new conservation activities and maintaining current practices.
-- Higher payment rates for certain conservation measures, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations.
-- Specific support for organic operations and those transitioning to organic production.
“CSP is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled nationwide,” said Denise Coleman, PA State Conservationist. “We are working to raise the visibility of CSP in Pennsylvania with increased focus on its many benefits to include increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather.”
CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications and new soil amendments to improve water quality.
Producers interested in CSP should contact their local USDA service center  or visit the NRCS Get Started webpage.
For more information on programs, technical and financial assistance, visit the NRCS-PA webpage.
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