USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced that the ranking period cut-off date for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is January 13, 2012. The deadline to apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is January 27. Producers interested in CSP or EQIP should submit applications to the North Branch NRCS office by the deadline so that their applications can be considered for funding in 2012.
The CSP program provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancements and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change. CSP offers significant payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. As part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete the resource inventory using a Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT determines the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities. The applicant’s conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking and payments. Chisago county landowners currently enrolled in this program are very pleased with the results. The financial incentive it provides allows producers to take risks to adopt new methods of nutrient management, plant diversity, and many other conservation activities that prove to be profitable and beneficial.
A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help potential applicants determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments. It is available from the North Branch NRCS office and on the CSP Web page at www.mn.nrcs.usda.gov.
Agricultural producers looking to solve specific natural resource problems on their farms should apply now for assistance through EQIP. EQIP provides assistance for a wide variety of conservation practices treating cropland, grazing, forestry, feedlots, and wildlife. Landowners interested in conservation practices are provided both technical assistance and financial assistance to install eligible practices. These projects may include installing a seasonal high tunnel (hoop house), rotational grazing, controlling erosion, addressing agricultural waste problems, adopting no-till farming practices, nutrient management, diverting clean water from farmsteads, wetland restoration, tree planting, and closing waste storage facilities.
Applying for a federal farm bill program is an easy process. Simply call or stop in to the North Branch field office for more information at 38814 Third Ave, North Branch, MN 55056 or 651-674-7160.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).