USDA has extended the sign-up for the Conservation Stewardship Program until June 25.

The Missouri Rural Crisis Center encourages farmers and landowners to set up a meeting with your local NRCS office to determine if CSP is right for your operation.

The new Conservation Stewardship Program, authorized in the 2008 farm bill, offers payments for adding conservation practices and maintaining and managing existing conservation practices. Unlike the previous CSP, which was watershed specific, any farmer in Missouri can now apply. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland.

“CSP promotes on-farm conservation that supports better care of the land and environment,” said Tim Gibbons, MRCC communication director. “CSP also has important potential to provide long-term economic benefits to family farmers and rural economies in Missouri.”

With a substantial increase in program funding and with the goal to enroll nearly 13 million acres a year, the new CSP has the opportunity to have a much greater impact on conservation and rural communities.

“CSP has not only assisted in helping my bottom-line, but also helped ensure my land will remain sustainable for future generations,” says Ben Avis, who operates a cattle-calf operation with his brother Dave Avis in Warrenton, Mo. “Other than planting 2.5 acres of wildflowers for native pollinators, CSP simply awarded me for conservation I was already employing on my land. My advice is to go visit with your local NRCS office and ask about CSP.”

For more information, contact Tim Gibbons at the Missouri Rural Crisis Center by calling (573)449-1336, e-mail timgibbons@morural.org, or contact your local NRCS office.