Conservation plan draws notice in N.D.A new program of the United States Department of Agricultures Natural Resources Conservation Service has drawn a lot of interest across North Dakota, according to Jennifer Heglund, assistant state conservationist. None of the participants, however, are from Stutsman County.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
A new program of the United States Department of Agricultures Natural Resources Conservation Service has drawn a lot of interest across North Dakota, according to Jennifer Heglund, assistant state conservationist.
None of the participants, however, are from Stutsman County.
The Conservation Stewardship Program has enrolled 12.7 million acres nationwide and 550,000 acres in North Dakota.
“We had three applicants from Stutsman County but they didn’t make the funding threshold,” Heglund said. “In some areas of the state applications were lower than expected because farmers were still harvesting at the deadline.”
Still, the total number of applicants was nearly double the funding available for the program in North Dakota.
“We had more than 400 applicants with about 1 million acres,” she said. “We could only fund about half those that sought the program.”
The program recognizes the farmer’s current conservation practices and promotes expansion of those practices in the future.
“The contract is based on benchmarks of what the conservation practices are,” Heglund said. “And expands on that to include the enhanced conservation practices.”
The average current contract payment in North Dakota is between $12 and $22 per acre per year for cropland and between $6 and $12 per acre per year for grasslands. The contracts run for five years.
The contract defines conservation practices such as crop rotations, precision ag technology, recycling farm lubricants, no-till farming and alternative energy such as solar power for electric fences and water pumps. It includes a list of the conservation practices the farmer currently utilizes and the practices that will be implemented during the contract period.
“These farmers and ranchers already work to improve soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat on their property,” Heglund said. “The CSP provides the means to continue and improve these practices.”
Heglund said the CSP operates under a continuous sign-up period.
“We will seek more applicants sometime this winter,” she said. “The program is open to Tribal and private lands. We anticipate a lot of applicants in this cycle.”
Applications can be made at the NRCS county field office. The producer will need to provide a map of their operation and list of the conservation stewardship practices they have in place.
The program is part of the 2008 Farm Bill and will run through the life of that legislation.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org