Thursday, September 10, 2009

Conservation Stewardship Program for Forest Landowners

There is a new federal payment program for forest landowners called the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages landowners to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by: improving, maintaining and managing existing conservation activities; and undertaking additional conservation activities. In short, forest landowners are rewarded for maintaining sustainable practices and installing one additional practice during a five year contract.

Landowners who are accepted into the CSP will be paid between $6 and $12 per acre per year to maintain existing conservation practices on forest land.

Signups for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP2009) began August 10, 2009. CSP2009 will have a continuous open signup with periodic cutoffs to evaluate and rank applications. September 30, 2009 is the cutoff date for the first ranking period.

There are four resource concerns or eligibility requirements that must be addressed to be considered for funding. Two of the four must be met before application is made.
- Woodlot is “green certified” by the Tree Farm System.
- One or more improvements have been made to the forest in the past 10 years.
- There is no apparent erosion.
- Native trees are adequately stocked on the property.
It’s that first eligibility requirement that is so exciting. The Tree Farm Program, that we have worked so diligently on, is a requirement for the CSP.

To apply for CSP, potential participants will be encouraged to use a self-screening checklist first to determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation. It will be available on NRCS Web site (http://www.pa.nrcs.usda.gov/) and at NRCS field offices.

2 comments:

Mark said...

I'm excited about the new Farm Bill opportunities for forest owners as well. However, this article may be a bit misleading. There is no eligibility requirement that mandates a producer be "green certified". If you are, that's great, but it is not required. Rather, being "green certified" simply means you that you "may be a good candidate for CSP".

David R. Jackson said...

The article is a bit misleading but it does specify that you must meet two of the four. Also, certification can come from Tree Farm, Green Tag, Smart Wood, FSC, or SFI.