NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE

BOZEMAN – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is making $100 million available this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program for farm, ranch, and forest operators to take additional conservation steps to improve their natural resources. Applications are accepted year round, but to be considered for this year’s funding, they must be submitted by Feb. 27.

The 2014 Farm Bill brought changes to the CSP including an expanded conservation activity list that will offer participants greater options to meet their conservation needs and protect the natural resources on their land. These activities, called “practices and enhancements,” include cover crops, intensive rotational grazing, and wildlife-friendly fencing.

The CSP will also help broaden the impacts of NRCS’ Landscape Conservation Initiatives through a new pilot effort, which accelerates private lands conservation activities to address particular goals, such as creating habitat for at-risk species – like the greater sage-grouse – and conserving and cleaning water.

CSP applications should be submitted to local NRCS offices. As part of the application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete a resource inventory of their land, which will help determine the level of conservation performance for existing and new activities. The applicant’s conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking, and payments.

Visit nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or a local USDA service center for more information on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs.