The ranking period cut-off date for producer applications in NRCS’ Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to January 7, 2011.

“We’re extending the deadline for applications to CSP to provide agricultural producers more time to complete their applications,” said Dave White, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief.  “This will help farmers, ranchers and forestry producers by giving them more time and hopefully allow even more producers to participate in this program.”

Mike Sullivan, Arkansas NRCS State Conservationist, encourages all producers in the state to apply for CSP. “The program, authorized in the 2008 farm bill, offers payments to producers who maintain a high level of conservation on their land and who agree to adopt higher levels of stewardship.

“Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. The program provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancement and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change.”

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments. It is available from local NRCS offices or online at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp/csp.html. For Arkansas specific information visit the Arkansas CSP Web page at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/new_csp.html.

CSP is offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off dates for ranking periods.