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Conservation Stewardship Program deadline coming up

Landowners still have time to sign up for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), but the deadline for getting signed up for 2010 funds is approaching quickly.

According to NRCS State Conservationist Don Baloun, now is the time for producers and landowners who have considered applying for CSP to sign up at their local NRCS field offices.

USDA recently announced June 11, 2010 as the national cutoff date, which will require potential applicants to submit applications quickly.

CSP is a voluntary program that encourages producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt new ones on their farm, ranch, and non-industrial forestland operations. The program is popular for those who go the extra mile with conservation and sustainable practices-whether they've accomplished it on their own or through USDA and NRCS programs.

"We've had good interest in CSP last year and this year but we did not reach all the producers this program was designed to reach. I'd like to change that this year, but the clock is ticking," explains Baloun.

According to Baloun, the sign-up process is more streamlined than its predecessor, the Conservation Security Program. "The conservation options available through CSP will make sense to our producers," Baloun said.

Producers and farm families who have maintained a conservation legacy on their farm over the years or those who have changed the operation over the last few years to include more eco-friendly management strategies, are rewarded through CSP. CSP pays you to maintain those successful practices and it helps you add even more solutions that protect soil, water, and related natural resources on your land.

"I know Minnesota has more landowners and producers who are committed to conservation because I see evidence of it on the land every day," Baloun says. "If you are one of those stewards of the land and you think it might be time to partner with NRCS to do even more of the right thing, I urge you to visit with your local NRCS staff and tell them all you've done. This program was designed to encourage more conservation activity and recognize good stewards and ranchers just like you."

To learn more and get involved with the program for 2010, visit your county USDA Service Center. Or visit online at