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Minnesota Tops Nation in Conservation Stewardship Program

PHOTO: An oversight in funding has now been fixed in Washington D.C. and enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program is underway. Since 2009, Minnesota has led all states in number of CSP participants and funding. CREDIT: Erik Abderhalden
PHOTO: An oversight in funding has now been fixed in Washington D.C. and enrollment in the Conservation Stewardship Program is underway. Since 2009, Minnesota has led all states in number of CSP participants and funding. CREDIT: Erik Abderhalden
April 4, 2013

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Another sure sign that spring has arrived across the farmlands of Minnesota is that sign-up is now under way for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Funding had been in jeopardy, but policy organizer Adam Warthesen with the Land Stewardship Project said the oversight has been fixed, allowing for the enrollment of about 12 million acres nationwide.

"The Conservation Stewardship Program provides incentives to enhance soil quality, protect wildlife habitat and strengthen water quality on the farm by the way in which they manage that operation."

Minnesota has led the way with the program, said Warthesen, with more than 3,000 contracts and over $260 million since 2009.

"Through the past four years, Minnesota has topped the nation in terms of the number of producers who get contracts to do good conservation on the land that they're farming," he said, "as well as the dollars obligated to support farmers in doing that."

Nationally, Warthesen said, enrollment over the past four years reached 50 million acres.

"That's astounding," he said. "That's larger than any other conservation program acre-wise in the nation. We have another opportunity this coming year to enroll more farmers and a greater number of acres."

The Conservation Stewardship Program is more important now than ever, he added, with the increasing pressure on the landscape from the rising price of land and growing demand for higher production.

Farmers and ranchers interested in CSP can apply at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service.

More information is available at http://1.usa.gov/14O1TUJ.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN