Southern SAWG Special Bulletin
Conservation Stewardship Program Deadline Extended to March 13!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended the sign-up period for the 2015 edition of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) -- the federal farm bill's largest working lands conservation program. Farmers and ranchers now have two additional weeks -- until March 13 -- to complete the initial application form. 


Details on this year's program are available for free in an Information Alert published by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. The Information Alert lists these conservation activities in order of their conservation and environmental point values. 


The top-ranking cropland enhancement -- the soil health crop rotation -- is brand new for this year. This enhancement requires a resource-conserving crop to be grown for at least two consecutive years and for annual crops to be preceded or followed by a cover crop. The farmer then has a choice of two out of seven associated soil health practices to complement the resulting rotation. The soil health crop rotation scores two and a half times more than the next highest regular enhancement and more than seven times the average enhancement.


Also high on the environmental benefits list, and related to soil health, are new or improved resource-conserving crop rotations, intensive rotational grazing, and a wide variety of different types of cover cropping.


CSP contract holders that enrolled in 2011 are now in the final year of their five-year contract and are therefore eligible to renew for another five years. Initial requests to renew must be submitted to local NRCS offices by March 31.


CSP is the nation's largest conservation program by acreage and is widely popular among farmers and ranchers. Since the program began in 2009, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled in the program.

March 2015
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Southern SAWG
PO Box 1552, Fayetteville, AR 72702