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Idaho Farmers’ Special “C-S-P” Abilities Bring Cash

April 28, 2008

Boise, ID – Farmers know the clock is ticking for the planting season in Idaho. But they may not realize time is running out in just a few weeks for a popular program funded through the U.S. Farm Bill, that rewards farmers and ranchers who take special care of land and water resources.

According to Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs, the "Conservation Security Program" (CSP) is unlike other agriculture programs that reward those who produce the most. Instead, she explains, this program pays farmers cash for keeping soil and water healthy for long-term production.

"They provide benefits that reach far beyond their direct farm or ranch, and we think it's really important that this is recognized by the public. It's rewarding them for those efforts."

Bruckner says the program had been delayed because of funding problems, which means many producers may not know it's on track and ready for applicants again. Right now, it is limited to certain areas, but the next Farm Bill would expand the program, allowing farmers and ranchers anywhere to participate. Bruckner believes that's only fair.

"It should be based on the merits of conservation, and open it up for everyone to compete, and so that's what the new Farm Bill will do."

Idaho farmers and ranchers have until May 16 to turn in the CSP paperwork, at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ID