CSP Explained: Building Upon Existing Conservation Plans

Brian GermanAgri-Business, USDA-NRCS

Many California producers already have a conservation plan established for their operation, which serves as a starting point for many assistance programs offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is one of the many initiatives available to assist with long-term stewardship improvements on farming operations.

conservation plan

“Our conservation work builds on a conservation plan where we’ll work with a producer and identify what are their management objectives, any concerns they might have on the impact of their operation on natural resources, and then look for ways that we can support them as they build their stewardship on their operation,” said NRCS Agronomist Karen Lowell. “We do have financial assistance for qualified producers, but the cornerstone, the key mission, grounding truth for us is that conservation plan.”

NRCS has been instrumental in assisting producers develop plans for increasing conservation techniques and enhancing stewardship practices. Lowell explained that many growers have already embraced many conservation approaches such as implementing integrated pest management techniques, adopting nitrogen management guidelines, and addressing air quality concerns.  NRCS is available to facilitate the continued implementation of conservation practices through financial assistance and technical guidance.  

“Our planners are trained to help producers find the best way to support their conservation management objectives,” Lowell noted. “They can kind of huddle with a producer and say, ‘okay, let’s talk about what you’ve got going on and figure out, yeah you know what, you didn’t do it with us, but you addressed this concern. So, that bumps you into possibilities with CSP.’ Our planners are all very well trained to look for opportunities wherever they can find them for qualified producers.”

The deadline to apply for assistance through the CSP is Friday, June 12.  NRCS has allocated a total of $10 million in funding to support CSP for 2020.  Anyone interested in applying is encouraged to contact their local office and visit the website for more information.

Listen to the interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West