Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NRCS New CSP Program Includes Biochar

While it is not mentioned in this press release, the new CSP program includes payments for making biochar from woody waste. If you are interested in enrolling in the CSP program, contact your local NRCS office.

Release No. 2016.11.005
Todd Peplin, Farm Bill Specialist
Tracy Robillard, Public Affairs Officer

NRCS launches new and improved Conservation Stewardship Program

Apply by Feb. 3 with the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Portland, Ore., Nov. 15, 2016— The nation’s largest voluntary conservation program is getting even better this year with the launch of the new and improved Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
CSP helps farmers, ranchers and family forest owners maintain their existing conservation efforts and adopt additional activities to address natural resource concerns.
“CSP provides incentives for farmers who are already being good stewards of the land and helps them take their conservation efforts to the next level,” said State Conservationist Ron Alvarado. “The changes to the program will give participants more flexibility and choices to adopt conservation enhancements that fit their operation, plus the program will be more transparent and understandable for producers.”
NRCS is now taking applications for the 2017 CSP sign-up. The sign-up deadline for 2017 funding is Feb. 3.  Applications can be submitted at a local USDA Service Center.
In Oregon, CSP applications will be ranked and prioritized for funding within five geographic zones. Eligible applications within each zone will be evaluated based on national, state, and local ranking questions. Read more on the Oregon CSP webpage.
NRCS Oregon enrolls an average of 300,000 acres of working agricultural lands into CSP every year and pays an annual average of $6 million to program participants statewide.
Nationally, NRCS has enrolled 70 million acres of working agricultural lands into CSP. This translates into thousands of farmers and ranchers who have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation.
NRCS has made several changes to CSP this year, which include:
•       Focus on Conservation Planning: CSP now integrates conservation planning logic from start to finish. CSP helps producers better understand what resource concerns are being addressed on their agricultural operation and identify opportunities to address additional resource concerns. 
•       New Screening and Ranking Tools: NRCS developed new tools to determine stewardship eligibility and rank applications. These tools make the application process more transparent, logical and easy to understand. 
•       Additional Enhancements: NRCS has nearly doubled the amount of enhancements (more than 200) available for producers to choose from, which gives participants more flexibility to choose conservation activities that best suit their operation.
•       Consistency in Payments: CSP payments have been re-structured using consistent, straightforward calculations. Payments to implement additional conservation activities will follow set payment schedules similar to other NRCS financial programs.
For more information and to apply, contact a local USDA Service Center or visit the NRCS Oregon website at  
For the latest CSP information and updates, visit the national CSP website.

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