The Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project is urging interested producers to submit their initial applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program before the May 10 deadline to ensure that they are considered for enrollment in 2019.

Farmers can apply for the CSP and its cost-share partner, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, any time throughout the year.

To apply, farmers and ranchers can go to their local Natural Resources Conservation Service office and submit the initial application, which consists of a simple form that asks for basic information regarding land ownership, type of production and contact information.

CSP is the only working lands program for farmers that provides financial payments for conservation management they are already doing that meets local resource concerns, while also providing financial incentives to assist them in doing more. Farm bill improvements to CSP include increased payments to farmers looking to add resource conserving crops to their rotations. Farmers with a history of strong land conservation management across their entire farms are encouraged to check out this program.

EQIP provides cost-share incentives for farmers wanting to implement new conservation practices on portions of their farm. In EQIP, the 2018 Farm Bill prioritizes cover crop practices, conservation crop rotations and practices that promote soil health, as well as wildlife habitat. These practices are now eligible for longer contract periods, as well. EQIP can be used to help farmers meet the threshold for later participation in CSP if their farm operation does not currently meet the level required to enroll.