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First National Sign-up for New Conservation Stewardship Program

Deputy Secretary Merrigan Announces First National Sign-up for New Conservation Stewardship Program

The first scheduled sign-up for the new Conservation Stewardship Program was on August 10 with the first period cutoff on September 30. Applications will be accepted after that date as the second cutoff date is January 14, 2010. The annual acreage enrollment is capped at 12,769,000 acres for each fiscal year nationwide. Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations.

“This program will help the Nation’s agricultural and forestry producers reach greater levels of conservation performance, which will help protect our land and water,” Merrigan said. “The conservation benefits derived from maintaining and enhancing natural resources will improve the quality of soil and water, assist in addressing global climate change, and encourage environmentally responsible energy production.”

To apply for the newly revamped CSP, potential participants will be encouraged to use a self-screening checklist first to determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation. It will be available on NRCS Web sites and at NRCS field offices. After self-screening, the producer’s current and proposed conservation practices are entered in the conservation measurement tool (CMT). This tool estimates the level of environmental performance to be achieved by a producer implementing and maintaining conservation activity. The conservation performance estimated by the CMT will be used to rank applications.

For information on this program contact www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp or contact Northwest Management, Inc. 208 883-4488.

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