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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is moving forward with its proposed Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) which rewards producers with payments for using existing good conservation practices and implementing new ones.
The Conservation Stewardship Program features two types of payments based on the methods and effectiveness of soil conservation and water-quality practices employed and comes packaged in the 2008 Farm Bill. It is slated to be available until 2017 and is a revamped and renamed version of the government's previous conservation initiative, the Conservation Security Program.
USDA will contract with eligible applicants for up to five years, with yearly payments not exceeding $40,000 per year or $200,000 over the five-year time frame. The two types of payment available include:
1. annual payment - available for installing new conservation activities and maintaining existing ones.
2. supplemental payment - available to those receive the annual payment and who also adopt resource-conserving crop rotation.
Individual landowners, Indian tribes, and legal entities can apply for conservation of the following lands under CSP:
So how will these new environmental stewards actually conserve lands?
Examples of conservation practices that will be rewarded include controlling wind erosion, conserving energy, growing high residue-producing crops, managing non-cropped areas for wildlife, providing food and water resources on existing lands for wildlife, applying fertilizer according to soil and tissue tests, utilizing a grazing management system to maintain soil and water quality.
Applications are being accepted through September 30th 2009. Interested producers are encouraged to view the CSP self-screening checklist available on the Conservation Stewardship Program website to determine eligibility on the basis of applicant, land, and stewardship threshold requirement.