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Wisconsin Farmers Urged to Sign Up Now for Conservation Program

Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs says farmers should sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program before they get too busy in the fields.
Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs says farmers should sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program before they get too busy in the fields.
April 9, 2013

MADISON, Wis. - Once the temperatures warm up and spring really gets under way in Wisconsin, farmers will be spending long hours in their fields. At the same time, according to Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs, legislation passed in Washington late in March has made funds available for the Conservation Stewardship Program.

She urged farmers to sign up now, because this year's deadline will be here soon.

"We think it will likely come some time at the end of May, but there's nothing certain, and so my concern is that farmers will be too busy in the field by that time to really want to think about going in and signing up for a conservation program," Bruckner said.

Farmers can sign up at their nearest Natural Resources Conservation Service office, and Bruckner said assistance in the process is available at those offices.

"We'd also encourage them to call our Farm Bill Helpline here at the Center for Rural Affairs if they have questions about the program, as well as to provide feedback on their experience with trying to sign up for the program and access those conservation dollars," she added.

Bruckner said the Conservation Stewardship Program has value for all farmers.

"I think in this day and age, when we have challenging climate issues and farmers are trying to work with challenging climate times, it's really a good program to help them mitigate some of the things that they face because of changing weather patterns and so forth," she stated. "And it's just a program that's supporting them for what they're doing on the land, versus what they're producing and how much they're producing."

The Farm Bill Helpline number is 402-687-2100, and there's also information easily available at CFRA.org.

It's often hard for farmers to figure out which programs are still active and which ones aren't, because Congress failed to fund many programs when it extended the existing Farm Bill last fall, instead of passing a new one.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI