The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Delaware is encouraging producers to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program in fiscal year 2014. From now until Jan. 17, producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS field offices statewide.
“Through CSP, farmers and forest landowners are undertaking additional conservation activities to conserve our nation’s resources,” said NRCS state conservationist Kasey Taylor. “Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more profitable, productive and sustainable over the long run.”
Conservation enhancements in Delaware include planting cover crops and cover crop mixes, using deep-rooted crops for soil compaction, and leaving standing crops for wildlife, among others that benefit soil and water quality, and wildlife habit. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forest land; participants must enroll their entire agricultural operation in CSP.
Limited-resource, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers will be ranked in a separate funding pool to increase participation in CSP. All approved contracts in these groups are guaranteed a payment of $1,000 annually, and there is no minimum acreage requirement to apply. Landowners working to improve their operation can receive up to $40,000 a year in financial assistance for five years.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help potential applicants determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. It is available from local NRCS offices and at www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.
To apply for CSP in Sussex County, call 302-856-3990, Ext. 3. Morel information on all NRCS programs and services is available at www.de.nrcs.usda.gov.