Conservation stewardship program begins

By Bonnie Dailey - Guest Columnist

Attention agricultural producers. Now that harvest is complete, are you looking at your fields and mulling over some goals for improvement in the coming years?

Opportunities are now available through the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Applications are being accepted through Feb. 3, 2017.

The Conservation Stewardship Program is for working lands and is the largest conservation program in the United States, with a current enrollment of 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land. CSP can help producers build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation.

CSP is for producers who are already established stewards, helping them further enhance their efforts on their own land. Such efforts also provide multiple benefits for local communities through better water quality, cleaner air, enriched wildlife habitat, and greater productivity.

Some examples of different ways CSP can help you find new ways to meet your goals:

• Extending filter strips to reduce excess sediment, nutrients, and chemicals in surface water

• Planting cover crops to reduce wind and water erosion

• Planting warm season grasses to improve soil health and wildlife habitat

• Adopting prescribed grazing to minimize streams and waterbodies from pathogens and nutrients

• Widening the stream forest buffer to reduce sediment loading

• Establishing crop rotations to improve soil organic matter

• Implementing no-till to improve soil health and organic matter

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting edge technologies and management techniques. It is a voluntary program and participants enroll under a five-year contract, with the option to renew for another five years.

Anyone interested should check out the easy-to-use website at Detailed information on the program, how to sign up, success stories, options, payments, and more are at your fingertips. Kick your conservation program up a notch.

Consider enrolling in the Conservation Stewardship Program. Call the Delaware NRCS office at 740-362-4011 with your questions or to make an appointment.

Additional conservation ideas can be found at the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District’s website at Specifics on our annual tree seedling sale and the 2017 Agronomy Workshop & Expo will be out soon, so stay tuned.

By Bonnie Dailey

Guest Columnist

Reach Bonnie Dailey at [email protected]

Reach Bonnie Dailey at [email protected]