50 million acres enrolled in USDA conservation program

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In just four years, America's top conservationists have enrolled 50 million acres in USDA's Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), a program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners take conservation to the next level. CSP is aimed at producers who are already established conservation stewards, helping them to deliver multiple conservation benefits on working lands, including improved water and soil quality and enhanced wildlife habitat.

"Farmers and ranchers throughout the country are making USDA's voluntary Conservation Stewardship Program a major force for conservation," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "The protection of natural resources through conservation programs such as CSP create outdoor and wildlife recreation opportunities that provide crucial jobs and bolster economic growth in rural American communities."

The land enrolled in CSP totals more than 78,000 square miles, an area larger than Pennsylvania and South Carolina combined, making the program one of the largest voluntary conservation programs for private lands offered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Nearly 12.2 million acres, or 18,750 square miles, were added to the program's rolls this year.

Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP. NRCS local offices accept CSP applications year round and evaluate applications during announced ranking periods.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types. It is available from local NRCS offices and on the CSP website: http://go.usa.gov/g9dx.

Learn more about CSP and other NRCS programs here: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs.



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