FARMINGTON — The St. Francois County United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) office is taking applications for a new program that offers payments to encourage agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations.
The program is called the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The program provides financial and technical assistance to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy on agricultural land. CSP provides opportunities to both recognize excellent stewards and deliver valuable new conservation.
It will operate with a continuous sign up period, but only applications received by September 30th will be considered for funding in this first ranking period. Congress capped annual enrollment at 12,769,000 acres nationwide for each fiscal year. Missouri will receive an as yet to be determined allotment of acres to enroll. All applications received will be ranked and determinations of who is accepted will be made in early November.
Eligible lands are cropland, pastureland, and private forestland.
The program provides participants with two possible types of payments. An annual payment is available for installing new conservation activities and maintaining existing activities. A supplemental payment may be earned by participants receiving an annual payment who also adopt a resource-conserving crop rotation.
For all contracts, CSP payments to a person or legal entity may not exceed $40,000 in any year, and $200,000 during any 5-year period. Payments will be made as soon as practical after October of each year for contract activities installed and maintained in the previous year.
According to Rob Morrow, District Conservationist with NRCS, “Farm operators with cropland, pastureland, or managed forestland who have been practicing good conservation stewardship in the past, and agree to adopt at least one additional conservation activity on each land use in the future, are encouraged to check into this program.”
For more information visit the NRCS Web site at www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp. Or call or stop by the St. Francois/Iron County USDA Service Center at 812 Progress Drive, Farmington (573) 756-6488 ext. 3. USDA is an equal opportunity provider.