Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the release of additional funding for Conservation Security Program (CSP) implementation.
"Through our actions today, the Conservation Security Program will fully realize the promise to recognize and award those producers that demonstrate conservation excellence," Johanns said. "These steps represent a way to bring the past program to completion, and set the stage for the future of CSP, beyond passage of the farm bill."
Funds will be made available for both the completion of payments on Fiscal year 2007 CSP contracts as well as to prepare for a future program signup. Specifically, $35 million has been made available to complete payments to producers who received only partial funding for their fiscal year 2007 payment.
In addition, $2.93 million is being made available to help producers and Natural Resources Conservation Service field staff prepare for a future program signup in the 51 watersheds previously identified for FY 2007, which represents lands in all 50 states, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Area. These watersheds represent more than 64,500 of the nation's potentially eligible farms and ranches, covering nearly 24 million acres of cropland and grazing land.
The announced funding was made possible through a supplemental appropriations bill provided by Congress on May 25, 2007.
A list of the eligible watersheds can be viewed at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov.
USDA offers CSP in new watersheds annually on a rotational basis in as many watersheds as funding allows.
For more information about CSP, including a map of targeted watersheds and eligibility requirements, please visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp.
CSP is a voluntary program that supports ongoing conservation stewardship on private agricultural working lands and enhances the condition of the nation's natural resources. Under this program, USDA rewards producers who practice good stewardship on agricultural lands and offers incentives to increase the use of conservation practices.
The USDA farm bill proposal calls for substantial reform and improvement of the Conservation Security Program with a goal of conducting nationwide signups in the future.