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Deadline Looms for New Conservation Stewardship Sign-Up

PHOTO: The Conservation Stewardship Program is open for new enrollments for 2014 and it's a program with which more and more Iowa farmers are finding success. CREDIT: Carl Wycoff
PHOTO: The Conservation Stewardship Program is open for new enrollments for 2014 and it's a program with which more and more Iowa farmers are finding success. CREDIT: Carl Wycoff
December 19, 2013

BOONE, Iowa – The annual enrollment for the Conservation Stewardship Program is under way.

And it’s an effort that's finding success in Iowa.

Under CSP, incentives are provided to farmers to strengthen water quality, protect wildlife habitat and enhance soil quality.

Jeremy Gustafson of Boone says those goals are coming to fruition.

"I think overall in Iowa, it's really starting to take off now, and not only are the benefits of the soil and water erosion – holding everything in place – but we're starting to really see some build-up of our soils and the health of our soil really just take off," he says.

Farmers and ranchers interested in CSP can apply at their local Natural Resources Conservation Service with a sign-up deadline of Jan. 17.

To take part in the Conservation Stewardship Program, there are lots of options that farmers can consider, from nutrient management to the use of cover crops.

In Iowa alone, there is now an estimated 300,000 acres of cover crops.

And one that Gustafson says has proved itself against heavy spring rains is cereal rye.

"And where we've seen that rye really shine is holding all the soil right where it's supposed to be,” he explains. “And this last year, with all the moisture that we had in central Iowa, I know everyone that had the rye was really happy with how their fields looked. There were no washes or gullies anywhere."

Nationally, enrollment in CSP over the past five years has reached nearly 60 million acres.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA