Help Improve Conservation Programs for Northeast Farmers

Farms that use smart conservation measures are not only more profitable and resilient to climate change and severe weather, they protect critical natural resources like water and air – making conservation a smart investment AND a public good. This is why we believe farmers who use sustainable practices should be rewarded

The USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is the only conservation program that pays producers for conservation practices already in place on working farmland. Although CSP has helped to maintain on-farm conservation measures on over 62 million acres of land nationally, the Northeast has had historically low participation in the program. Because of the way the program is designed, farmers who are smaller-scale, new entry, organic, or running diversified operations have a harder time accessing the program.

However, in the next year, we will have an opportunity to change that. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is preparing for a big “refresh”  of the Conservation Stewardship Program in 2016! This a huge chance to help improve CSP for Northeastern farmers by making it:

  • More accessible to beginning and limited-resource farmers and farmers with small acreage
  • More supportive of farmers transitioning to organic production
  • More cost-effective for diversified farmers (including fruit and vegetable growers)

If we want NRCS to make those changes, we need make sure they hear from Northeast farmers and allies now! Can you or your organization help? If so, contact Tracy Lerman at tracy@nesawg.org and we’ll give you more details.

Want to know more? Get more details on the refresh via our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Photo courtesy of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.