Ag producers wishing to improve their conservation management on working lands are encouraged to check into the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The CSP is designed to help producers "step up" management activities addressing natural resource concerns.
Application signup for the Conservation Stewardship Program is ongoing at local USDA Service Centers. CSP Program Manager, Rod Voss, Huron says, "With CSP, participants select the activities in which they are interested and agree to undertake additional activities that will enhance the environmental performance of their land." Contracts offered run for five years with participants receiving annual payments for conservation performance. "Contracts may include actions such as using GPS technology; increased management of grazing lands or haylands; managing calving dates, or using cover crops. We have enhancements for controlled release fertilizer, various irrigation-based enhancements, and improved pesticide application management, to name a few," says Voss.
More than 800 CSP contracts are currently in force in South Dakota and stepping up conservation activities on over two million acres. Contact a local NRCS office for details or visit www.sd.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/.