Next signup for landowners in early 2008

U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) Acting Secretary Chuck Conner has announced that nearly $257 million in Conservation Security Program (CSP) payments are being readied for all 19,393 contracts with eligible landowners and producers.

Wildlife conservation aspects of CSP are designed to encourage landowners to adopt such conservation practices as leaving crop stubble for wildlife habitat, planting grassy areas near crops, leaving small amounts of hay unharvested, and practicing prescribed burns and deferred grazing. Payments vary depending on acreage enrolled and practices adopted. In Kansas, more than 809,000 acres are currently enrolled in CSP.

The payments announced are for current contracts in all 280 CSP watershed districts. CSP contract holders will receive payment in full for the current Fiscal Year 2008 contract obligations and will be given the option of receiving their payment in calendar year 2007 or 2008. CSP program participants should contact their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office for payment.

In preparation for the 2007 Farm Bill, USDA submitted a proposal that calls for substantial reform and improvement of the Conservation Security Program with a goal of conducting nationwide signups. Currently, CSP is offered on a rotating watershed basis as funds are available.

The NRCS anticipates the next CSP signup to take place in early 2008 in 51 eligible watersheds. These watersheds include more than 64,500 potentially eligible farms and ranches on nearly 24 million acres of cropland and grazing land throughout the United States, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean.

CSP is a voluntary program established as part of the 2002 Farm Bill to support ongoing conservation stewardship on private agricultural working lands and enhance the condition of the nation's natural resources.

For more information about CSP, including payment information for existing contracts and program eligibility requirements go online to or visit the nearest USDA Service Center. More details may also be obtained by writing the Kansas NRCS Office, 760 South Broadway, Salina, KS 67401-4604, or phoning 785-823-4540.