Indiana NRCS Announces Applications Available for Conservation Stewardship Program

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For Immediate Release

Contact: Becky Fletcher, State Public Affairs Officer

Phone: 317-295-5825

Email: rebecca.fletcher@in.usda.gov

Indiana NRCS Announces Applications Available for Conservation Stewardship Program

 

Indianapolis, IN November 29, 2016 – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Jane Hardisty announced today that Indiana is now accepting applications for enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest conservation program.

 

NRCS has made several revisions to the program this year to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications will help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives.  These new tools also allow producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

 

“The updated Conservation Stewardship Program provides even more opportunities for conservation and greater flexibility at the local level to prioritize resource concerns and conservation approaches,” says Hardisty. “Customized CSP tools for Indiana will improve the customer experience during application evaluations.”

 

The sign-up runs through February 3, 2017 and producers are encouraged to go ahead and apply.  CSP is for producers who are already established conservation stewards and who want to add more conservation benefits on their land, such as improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.  Applications are available in local USDA service centers. 

 

Changes that producers can expect to see include nearly double the enhancements and conservation practices offered and better reporting tools to tell producers the results of their conservation efforts on their land.

 

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land.  CSP also encourages the adoption of new technologies and management techniques, such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and soil health practices to improve water quality.

 

Using input from producers and stakeholders, CSP was redesigned to provide more flexibility in helping to address local resource concerns.  Now, NRCS will more effectively utilize input from farmers and partners in Indiana’s State Technical Committee and local workgroups to inform and expand conservation strategies. Producers will be better prepared to apply because they will know these local ranking priorities and targeted resource concerns in advance.

 

Information about CSP, including national and state ranking questions and enhancement descriptions, is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/cspThis one-stop shop, which provides information to help individuals determine whether CSP is right for them, will be continually updated as more information becomes available. 

 

For more information about NRCS and other technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or contact your District Conservationist http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/in/contact/local/

 

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Contacts:

Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist, 317-295-5801 (jane.hardisty@in.usda.gov)

Jerry Roach, ASTC for Programs, 317-295-5820 (jerry.roach@in.usda.gov)

Rebecca Fletcher, Public Affairs Specialist, 317-295-5825 (rebecca.fletcher@in.usda.gov