Farmers across the country have little more than a week to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), with applications due May 10. OEFFA urges farmers to sign up for this program which provides payments for conservation activity that many producers already employ. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has provided an information alert with details to answer many questions you may have.
What is CSP?
CSP is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) largest conservation program that offers whole farm conservation assistance to farmers across the U.S.
Sign-up opportunities are available each year. The program provides financial assistance for advanced conservation through five-year contracts on all kinds of farmland. Many organic producers already use practices that are detailed in this Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) program or can benefit from using CSP to provide for wildlife habitat, conservation buffers, to protect water quality, and much more.
Changes to the program as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill include a higher payment rate for some conservation activities, such as cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations, and specific support for organic and transitioning to organic activities.
How Do I Sign Up?
Applying to CSP is simple. Before May 10, applicants must complete and submit a short form, NRCS Form CPA 1200. This is the same, generic three-page form used for all NRCS conservation programs that offer financial assistance and is available online through the link above or at your local NRCS office.
Importantly, you need to have a farm record number established through the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), to include all agricultural or private forest land in the operation. If you don’t have an FSA number, go to your FSA office to establish a farm record number before submitting your CSP application. Applicants must also have control of the land for the five-year term of the CSP contract.
After submitting your application, you will work with NRCS to complete the tools to evaluate management systems and natural resources on the operation’s land.
If you plan to apply for CSP, drop us a line and let us know!