In the first four enrollment years for CSP (2009-2012), more than 39,000 farmers and ranchers operating over 50 million acres of farm and ranch land that is now under five-year, renewable CSP conservation contracts. Annual CSP payments are currently $680 million a year!
The CSP is a working lands conservation program administered by the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and available on a nationwide basis. CSP offers technical and financial assistance to farmers for adopting and maintaining high standards of resource conservation and environmental stewardship. Assistance is geared to both the active management of existing conservation systems and for implementing new conservation activities on land in agricultural production. Find the enrollment alert here!
Application forms are available at your local NRCS state offices and farmers should visit their local service center to sign up. State offices will have information on priority resource concerns for your state and agents available to help farmers.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has created an essential guide to help farmers learn how to apply for the CSP and includes a list of organizations that can assist with the application process. The Land Stewardship Project has a useful and up-to-date fact sheet.
This week, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT/ATTRA) will present a webinar with Harriet Behar, an organic specialist at the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). The webinar, “Virtual Tour of Organic Farm Conservation Activity Planning,” will take place on Thursday, January 31st at 1pm EST.
This webinar is the third in a four-part series established for people interested in becoming NRCS-approved Technical Service Providers (TSPs). Behar is an approved TSP and will lead a virtual farm tour, identifying conservation concerns and possible mitigation strategies, as well as areas that affect organic certification. This unique webinar is helpful not only to potential TSPs, but any organic farmer interested in conservation practices on the farm.
To register for the webinar on January 31st, visit: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/576856170
The final webinar will be on Thursday, March 21st, on the topic of how NRCS TSPs can support biodiversity conservation in organic systems. See below for the first two webinars in the series:
Title: Doing NRCS Conservation Activity Planning for Organic Farmers and Ranchers
Presenter: Katy Green of Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA)
Title: Becoming a Technical Service Provider for NRCS: An Introduction
Presenter: Harriet Behar of Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)