Applications being accepted for Conservation Stewardship Program

Staff Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for fiscal year 2017 enrollments. Producers interested in participating in the program may begin submitting applications to the DonaldsonvilleNRCS office.

CSP offers direct payments to a farmer or rancher based on their efforts to protect the soil, water, wildlife, and air quality,” saidArnelis Crespo-Pitre, NRCS District Conservationist at the Donaldsonville Service Center. “CSP also offers financial assistance to install additional conservation practices, such as; Use drift reducing nozzles, GPS, targeted spray application technology, Precision application technology to apply nutrients and High level IPM to reduce pesticide environmental risk.

NRCS has made several updates to the program this year to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications will help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives.  These new tools also allow producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to the Donaldsonville NRCS Office by Feb. 3, 2017. People interested in the additional opportunities the updated CSP will offer can find information on the new CSP portal, located at NRCS.USDA.Gov/CSP. The one-stop shop, which provides information to help producers determine whether CSP is right for them, will be continually updated as more information becomes available.  Changes that producers can expect to see include nearly double the enhancements and conservation practices offered and better reporting tools to tell producers the results of their conservation efforts on their land.

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 new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

CSP is for producers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.

Producers interested in CSP should visit or call theDonaldsonville NRCS officeat2259 Business Park Blvd., telephone number (225) 473-8446as soon as possible to submit an application.