The ranking period cut-off date for producer applications in the program has been extended to Jan. 7, 2011.
“CSP supports ongoing stewardship of private agricultural lands by providing payments for maintaining and enhancing natural resources,” said Will Blackwell, Refugio County NRCS district conservationist. “We’re extending the deadline for applications to CSP to provide agricultural producers more time to complete their applications. This will help farmers, ranchers and forestry producers by giving them more time and hopefully allow even more producers to participate in this program.”
Congress limited enrollment for CSP nationally at 12.7 million acres per year. Applicants will be ranked on state-identified primary resource concerns, which in Texas are water quantity, soil erosion, plant health and condition, water quality, and animal health.
Producers are encouraged to apply for CSP now to ensure their applications will be considered during this funding and ranking period. However, they can make their final decision to participate in the program before they sign a contract. The CSP final rule, which establishes the policies and procedures for the program was published in the Federal Register on June 3.
CSP, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland.
CSP offers two types of potential payments—an annual payment and a supplemental payment. The annual payment will be determined by estimating the environmental benefits produced by the conservation activities a producer installs and maintains. A supplemental payment is available to participants who receive an annual payment and adopt a resource-conserving crop rotation on cropland.
Potential applicants are encouraged to use the CSP self-screening checklist to determine if the new program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments.
For more information, call the USDA Service Center office in Refugio at 361-526-2531 ext 3 or online at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html.