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2013 PRESS RELEASES

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December 3, 2013
APPLICATIONS FOR CONSERVATION STEWARDSHIP PROGRAM DUE JANUARY 17 POPULAR FARM BILL CONSERVATION PROGRAM SEEKS PRODUCER PARTICIPATION
Contact: Elaine J. Lidholm, 804.786.7686

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is opening the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for new enrollments for federal fiscal year 2014.  From December 2, 2013, through January 17, 2014, producers interested in participating in the program may submit applications to NRCS.

“The Conservation Stewardship Program encourages farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to go that extra mile to conserve our nation’s resources,” said Matthew J. Lohr, VDACS Commissioner. “Through their conservation actions, they ensure that their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run.”

The CSP is an important Farm Bill conservation program that helps established conservation stewards take their level of natural resource management to the next level to improve both their agricultural production and provide valuable conservation benefits such as cleaner and more abundant water, healthier soils 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 — farmers 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.

Some popular enhancements used by farmers and ranchers include:

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through January 17th to be eligible during the 2014 federal fiscal year. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods.
To be eligible for this year’s enrollment, producers must have their 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.

Learn more about CSP by visiting the NRCS website. Farmers can click on their specific area on the Virginia map at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?agency=nrcs.

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