Houston County Courier - Local News
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Financial Rewards for Landowners Who Protect Texas’ Natural Resource
|Houston County Courier - September 2009
By Jaime Tankersley
Public Affairs Specialist USDA-NRCS
TEMPLE - Texas Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Don Gohmert announced signup for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) to assist agricultural and forestry producers.
The CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations.
The program provides financial and technical assistance to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. It was authorized under the 2008 Farm Bill to financially reward the best of the best in agricultural and forestry conservation.
Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie, improved pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.
“Farmers and ranchers actively engaged in conservation land stewardship have the opportunity to earn conservation rewards through CSP,” Gohmert said. “This program gives conservation-minded producers the ability to apply and build on their current stewardship efforts.”
CSP is a five-year program which offers continuous sign-up.
All eligible applicants who sign by Sept. 30 will be ranked as a group in October and November and will be eligible for funding at that time. A second ranking of subsequent applications will likely take place again in January or February.
Gohmert noted only top land stewards will be awarded contracts for CSP and receive funding.
“CSP is for the best of the best stewards,” Gohmert said. “We have many land stewards in Texas that are worthy of this recognition, and I encourage them to apply.”
To apply for CSP, potential participants are encouraged to use a self-screening checklist first to determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation.
It is available on NRCS Web site at www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov and at NRCS field offices.
After self-screening, the producer’s current and proposed conservation practices are entered in the conservation measurement tool, which estimates the level of environmental performance to be achieved by a producer implementing and maintaining conservation activity.
CSP payments will compensate producers for:
- Installing and adopting additional conservation activities;
- Improving, maintaining, and managing conservation activities in place a the time the contract offer is accepted;
- Adopting resource-conserving crop rotations to achieve beneficial crop rotations;
- Engaging in activities related to on-farm conservation research and demonstration activities, and pilot testing of new technologies or innovative conservation practices.
The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced or geographic location.
To learn more about CSP or how to your land could qualify for the program; visit your local NRCS office, at the USDA Service Center.