Application period begins for USDA fiscal ’19 conservation program

THE SIGN-UP period for the USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program for fiscal 2019 has begun, with applications to local offices due May 10. / COURTESY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
THE SIGN-UP period for the USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program for fiscal 2019 has begun, with applications to local offices due May 10. / COURTESY U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

WARWICK – The next deadline for fiscal 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Stewardship Program is May 10, the department announced Monday.

The program, which is designed for private and tribal agricultural land, cropland, grassland, pastureland, rangeland and nonindustrial private forest land, is the largest conservation program in the United States. It aims to help businesses grow while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of the land.

In fiscal 2019, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to distribute $700 million nationwide for the program through new contracts and contract extensions.

“CSP continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” said R. Phou Vongkhamdy, NRCS Rhode Island State Conservationist. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.”

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Interested producers are encouraged to submit applications to their local NRCS office by May 10 to ensure their applications are considered for fiscal 2019.

The USDA said that the program has recently been changed to have higher payments for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations.

The program also now provides specific support for organic and transitioning-to-organic production activities.

Rhode Island offices:

  • Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District (Newport and Bristol Counties)
  • Northern Rhode Island Conservation District (Providence County)
  • Southern Rhode Island Conservation District (Kent and Washington Counties)

More information about the program may be found online.