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Conservationists wanted for program

Published: Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 12:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 12:50 p.m. CDT

CHAMPAIGN — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for the federal Fiscal Year 2014. Producers interested in participating in the program can submit applications to NRCS by Jan. 17.

The CSP is a Farm Bill conservation program which helps established conservation stewards take their level of natural resource management to the next level. This improves by agricultural production and provides valuable conservation benefits, such as cleaner water, healthier coils and better wildlife habitat.

CSP is now in its fifth year, and so far, NRCS has partnered with producers to enroll more than 59 million acres across the nation. The program emphasizes conservation performance — producers earn higher payments for higher 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.

To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date. A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types.

For more information about CSP, visit the NRCS website at www.il.nrcs.usda.gov or contact the local NRCS field office.

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