Over 300 Wisconsin farmers and forest landowners have successfully enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program for 2013. This is the fourth year that this program has been open throughout Wisconsin.
"This great response from Wisconsin farmers comes as no surprise," said Jimmy Bramblett, state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Wisconsin. "Wisconsin has a strong conservation ethic and a long history of conservation, beginning in the 1930s."
"We are especially pleased that 49 beginning farmers enrolled," Bramblett added. "These are good conservation farmers that are willing to try new ways to protect water, soil and wildlife."
In 2013, 308 farmers and forestland owners enrolled in CSP, with an average payment of $5,408 per contract. Over $1.6 million in payments will be made to those farm families this year, and over $8 million over the course of their five-year contracts.
For many farmers, CSP offers reward and recognition for the conservation they are already doing, plus a little extra incentive to try a few more or new practices. These payments will be especially welcome with the lost crops and forage due to late wet spring.
Farmers may apply now for contracts beginning in 2014. Applications will be accepted at the NRCS office in USDA Service Centers throughout Wisconsin.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, is a voluntary program that offers payments to producers who exercise good land stewardship and agree to further improve their conservation performance.
CSP is available to all producers regardless of operation type, crops produced, or geographic location.
Total crop and pasture land acres enrolled in Wisconsin to date is 740,717, plus 102,671 acres of woodland (non-industrial private forestland) in 2254 contracts.
For this signup, average payments in Wisconsin were $19 per acre for cropland, $13 per acre for pasture, and $3 per acre for woodland. Payments are made annually for each of the five years of the contract.
CSP is open to small and large operations, with farms already enrolled ranging from just a couple of acres to over 4,000 acres of cropland.
For more information, visit www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov, or contact the NRCS office at the USDA Service Center serving the county.