Conservation fund applications due March 2

January 24, 2018

Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Through CSP, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in the program in 2018.

Applications must be received by Friday, March 2, to be considered for this funding period.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically based pest management, buffer strips and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. The program also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Some of the benefits of CSP include increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife population improvements and better resilience to weather variables.

NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

For more information, contact the USDA service center in Sussex County at 302-856-3990, Ext. 3, or go to