Soil sample with shovel

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has helped Nebraska farmers and ranchers achieve conservation goals on their operations for nearly two decades, and the state is a national leader of the program in multiple aspects.

In 2018, there were 6,038,535 acres—or 13% of the state’s total agricultural land—actively enrolled in CSP, according to a fact sheet released Sept. 1 by the Center for Rural Affairs.

The resource also includes information such as the number of active CSP contracts, financial assistance allocated, and the top conservation practices used in the state.

Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), CSP provides financial and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to maintain agricultural production on their land, and simultaneously address resource concerns with conservation practices. The program is set up so that producers must demonstrate existing conservation efforts, and then have the opportunity to build on those efforts with new practices and enhancements.

“What we found—in both the NRCS data and our own research—is that the farmers and ranchers who use CSP are highly satisfied with the program, and Nebraska is leading the nation in various ways in program use,” said Kate Hansen, policy assistant for the center.

The Center for Rural Affairs created a fact sheet on the “Impacts of the Conservation Stewardship Program in Nebraska.” Hansen said it can be a valuable resource for producers, landowners, and policy makers alike.

The fact sheet can be found at cfra.org/publications. This state-focused report follows the release of a national report from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

“As Congress prepares to return to Washington, D.C., they should not forget about the importance of conservation,” Hansen said. “Conservation offers resiliency for operations, which we have seen is sorely needed in these tough times.”