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Enrolled in CSP? A Big Deadline Is Approaching

If you're enrolled in the USDA-NRCS Conservation Security Program (CSP), an important date is coming up.

You've got until September 12 to reenroll in the program for the next five years if your contract is up. Renew by contacting your local USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office. Need help getting in touch with your office? Here's a map from USDA.

If you're eligible for renewal or required to do so, you should have received a letter from USDA in mid-July, according to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). There are two renewal deadlines in the next few months: The first is September 12, and the second is at the end of the calendar year.

"Farmers in the first group will first extend their current contracts through December 31, 2014, so that both 2010 enrollment classes will now expire at the end of the calendar year.  Renewal contracts will go into effect January 1, 2015," according to an NSAC report. "It is optional to renew an expiring contract, and participants who do not reenroll can always reapply and compete for funding in future annual CSP signups.  However, there is significant benefit to renewing now: The process for renewing is noncompetitive and much simpler than reapplying through the competitive process later, and participants will avoid any gaps in their CSP payments that would otherwise occur."

You may be required to meet some new criteria this time around, though, according to NSAC. "Under the terms of the 2014 Farm Bill, CSP contract holders can renew their contracts provided: They have met the terms of their initial contract; agree to adopt and continue to integrate conservation activities across their entire operation; and agree to either meet the stewardship threshold of at least two additional priority resource concerns or exceed the stewardship threshold of at least two existing priority resource concerns by the end of the renewed contract period," the report shows. "These terms are slightly different than the terms for renewals under the 2008 Farm Bill that were in effect at the time farmers and ranchers with contracts expiring this year signed up, so it would be wise for producers interested in renewing to check in with their local NRCS office for precise information about how the 2014 Farm Bill renewal terms will work in practice."

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