Carol Sanders | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
The sign-up process for the updated Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is now open with Feb. 3 designated as the deadline for the first ranking period of the 2017 funding cycle, said Dr. Henry English, head of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB).
Congress limits CSP enrollment nationally. Ten million new acres will be enrolled in CSP in 2017 at which time 12 million additional acres will also be up for renewal, said Dr. English. CSP is the largest conservation program in the United States. Since its beginning in 2009, nearly 70 million acres have been enrolled.
“Applicants compete for funding within state-identified ranking pools with announced cutoff application dates for ranking periods,” said Dr. English. “Producers who sign up by Feb. 3 will be competing for funding against those who have signed up since the last ranking funding deadline,” said Dr. English.
The program is designed to encourage and reward resource-conserving practices such as planting cover crops, rotational grazing or ecologically-based pest management.
CSP also does not forget smaller producers, said Dr. English. For folks who qualify for the program, the minimum contract payment is $1,500, no matter the acreage.
To enroll in the 2017 program, submit an application to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) by Feb. 3. You don’t have to know all the details about the conservation practices that will best fit your operation. Those details can be worked out with NRCS later on, said Dr. English. As part of the process, producers work with NRCS field personnel to complete a resource inventory.
New this year are a new eligibility tool (CAET), a new ranking tool (AERT), minimum contract payment information, added flexibility, redesigned payment structure and expanded options for enhancements.
For more information, contact your local NRCS office or your UAPB Extension program associate.
Alexis Cole (870) 630-2005 or firstname.lastname@example.org – St. Francis, Crittenden and Lee counties; Travis Collins (870) 355-7007 or City of Eudora.email@example.com – Chicot, Drew, Ashley and Desha counties; Kandi Williams (870)826-3685 or firstname.lastname@example.org – Howard, Little River, Miller, Hempstead and Lafayette counties; and Multi-County Agent Stephan Walker (870) 575-7237 or email@example.com – Jefferson, Desha, Lincoln and Pulaski counties.
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