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Important Farm Deadline Approaching

Farmers are being encouraged to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program. Deadline is Feb. 3. (Jessica Arp)
Farmers are being encouraged to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program. Deadline is Feb. 3. (Jessica Arp)
January 10, 2017

EAST TROY, Wis. – With the Feb. 3 deadline for applications just a few weeks away, farmers who are interested in enrolling in the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service's popular Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) are being urged to sign up now.

Even if you don't have specific plans for a conservation project on paper, Margaret Krome, policy program director of the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, says right now is the time to register.

"You can work out details later," she said. "The application process allows you to enroll and then later on work out further details. Just getting in the office makes sense now."

Farmers can sign up at their county NRCS office, or online at

Dick Cates, who owns a farm near Spring Green, says the program is designed to reward landowners who are actively involved in land conservation.

"The wonderful thing about CSP is you don't have to be a farmer, a landowner that's not already engaged in conservation," says Cates. "You can be doing some great things and CSP allows you to enhance that work."

Cates says he's had tremendous help from CSP in preserving and improving a trout stream that runs through his land.

Krome adds the USDA recently has made many changes and improvements to the CSP, which she praises as the most important program of its kind in the nation.

"Conservation Stewardship Program covers more acreage than any of the other voluntary conservation programs," she added. "It's very important nationally. In Wisconsin, we've crossed the one million acreage point this year."

Both Krome and Cates say the important thing right now is to get enrolled, to be able to take advantage of the program. Cates says there's not a bunch of red tape involved. In fact, he says quite the opposite.

"I did not find any complexities or downsides with engaging in the program," Cates stated. "It was like falling off a log. The paperwork was easy."

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI