The U.S. Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for its new Conservation Stewardship Program, a voluntary program providing financial aid and technical assistance for agricultural and forestry producers that adopt or maintain certain conservation activities (PDF). The program was authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill, and enrollment will be limited to 12,769,000 acres during each program year. “This program will help the Nation’s agricultural and forestry producers reach greater levels of conservation performance, which will help protect our land and water,” Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan said. “The conservation benefits derived from maintaining and enhancing natural resources will improve the quality of soil and water, assist in addressing global climate change, and encourage environmentally responsible energy production.” Applications for the first signup are due Sept. 30. Applicants then will be ranked based on a variety of criteria. USDA offers a self-screening checklist (PDF) for those interested, to see if the program might be a good fit for them. For full details, read the press release.
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