A federal program that pays farmers to farm environmentally smart. That’s what the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), now in its second year of funding, is, says Harlan Anderson, a Cokato, Minn., grower who signed up for the 2010 program.
“This program is designed to reward and support and encourage the people who are farming right and encourage them to do more of it right,” says Anderson.
Paul Flynn, Minnesota resource conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), says the program is a rather new experiment. “CSP is Congress’s attempt to bridge the way that we pay farmers with production payments. Instead of paying based on the number of acres that they plant of the seven crops (approved for deficiency payments), or the number of bushels that they grow of those crops, Congress is investigating if we could pay farmers based on the conservation that they apply to the land,” Flynn says.