Tallahassee, Fla. — Today, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) are encouraging Florida’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to sign up for two programs under USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and its Conservation Stewardship Program. The deadline for both programs is Friday, March 26, 2021.
“Supporting the conservation of Florida’s lands and wildlife through agricultural innovation is one of my top priorities,” said Commissioner Fried. “I appreciate the USDA and NRCS helping incentivize good stewardship of our natural resources, and I encourage all eligible Florida agriculture producers to apply for these conservation programs before the deadline.”
The following are the NRCS program details:
- The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Through CSP, the NRCS helps agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques. Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorizes NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from now until 2023, and it makes some improvements to the program. These updates include:
- NRCS now enrolls eligible applications based on dollars rather than acres. For fiscal year 2021, NRCS in Florida can spend up to $3 million in the program, which covers part of the cost for producers implementing new conservation activities and maintaining their existing activities in all eligible land such as, private and tribal agricultural lands, cropland, rangeland, pastureland, private non-industrial private forestland (NIPF), farmstead and Associated Ag Land.
- Higher payment rates are now available for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations.
- The annual payment limitation of $40,000 no longer applies.
While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure their applications are considered for 2021 funding. For additional information about CSP, contact your local USDA service center.
2. Program Pays Ranchers in Southwest Florida to Help Panthers
Ranchers in Southwest Florida may be able to get paid for helping the Florida panther. Through CSP, the NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance for conservation practices that improve its habitat. Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project.
To be eligible, a producer’s operation must be in northeastern Collier County or southwestern Hendry County, areas identified as essential for the long-term viability of the panther population. Refer to the panther map for details.
Collier County: Contact District Conservationist Derrick Wyle at 352-672-2630.
Hendry County: Contact District Conservationist Mitchell Aman at 863-674-5700