The United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program for new enrollments for the new federal fiscal year.
Starting today through Jan. 17, farmers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS.
"Through the Conservation Stewardship Program, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are going the extra mile to conserve our nation's resources," NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. "Through their conservation actions, they are ensuring that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run."
The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards with taking their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, as well as healthier soils and better wildlife habitat.
The program emphasizes conservation performance-producers earn higher payments for performance. In CSP, producers install conservation enhancements to make positive changes in soil quality, soil erosion, water quality, water quantity, air quality, plant resources, animal resources and energy.
Some popular enhancements used by farmers include:
Using new nozzles that reduce the drift of pesticides, lowering input costs and use of pesticides where they are most needed;
Use of cover crop for erosion control;
Modifying water facilities to prevent bats and bird species from being trapped;
Burning patches of land, mimicking prairie fires to enhance wildlife habitat; and
Rotating feeding areas and monitoring key grazing areas to improve grazing management.
Eligible landowners and operators in Ohio and Pennsylvania can enroll in CSP through Jan. 17 to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year by contacting the local NRCS office in Cortland at 330-637-2046 at Ext.109.
To learn more about CSP, visit the NRCS website at nrcs.usda.gov
The Trumbull SWCD appreciates the dedication to protecting our resources and commends the producers on their efforts in this regard.
Mike Wilson is the executive director of the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District and is an associate member of the Trumbull County Farm Bureau.