USDA-NRCS In Georgia Announces Conservation Stewardship Program Sign-up for Classic and Inflation Reduction Act Funding
In addition to the Classic Conservation Stewardship Program sign-up, Georgia NRCS is utilizing funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to build more climate resiliency.
ATHENS, GEORGIA, Feb. 27, 2023 – The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia is announcing a Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) sign-up today. Agricultural producers and forest landowners looking to build on previous conservation efforts and building climate resiliency should consider one of two funding opportunities available to them this year and apply by March 31.
This year, NRCS will offer the statewide Classic CSP sign-up option for all producers in Georgia, as well as a targeted sign-up utilizing funding from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently.
“The Conservation Stewardship Program continues to help our customers take conservation to the next level,” said Terrance O. Rudolph, state conservationist for NRCS in Georgia. “This sign-up, including the IRA funding will help even more agricultural producers and forest landowners build a more climate resilient Georgia.”
NRCS offers CSP in all 50 states, as well as the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups. The program provides many benefits, including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to adverse weather. CSP is for working lands, including cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under Indian tribe jurisdiction.
Special provisions are available for historically underserved producers, which include those considered beginning, socially disadvantaged and limited resource as well as military veterans. These producers have targeted funds.
Find eligible practices in Georgia and practice payment amounts here. Payment rates for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year for the state.
For the IRA funded portion of this year’s sign-up, agricultural producers in Baker, Calhoun, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Miller, Mitchell, and Seminole counties can apply for Soil Health focused practices and enhancements. Whereas producers and forest landowners in Bleckley, Dodge, Emmanuel, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Toombs, Treutlen, Twiggs, Washington, Wheeler, and Wilkinson counties can apply for Agroforestry, Forestry and Upland Wildlife Habitat practices and enhancements.
Download the Georgia CSP – Inflation Reduction Act Activities List for more information.
How to Apply
NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round, but to be included in this funding batch, interested producers should contact their local USDA Service Center and apply by March 31, 2023. Additional sign-up batches may be announced later, subject to the availability of funding.
On Nov. 21, 2022, USDA published a Federal Register Notice requesting public input on implementation of the funding provided by the IRA and sought comments on program delivery and outreach, especially for underserved producers. That notice closed on Dec. 21, 2022, and NRCS received over 450 comments from the public, which the agency is using to guide actions in fiscal year 2023 and will continue to identify and adopt additional changes based on that public feedback in fiscal year 2024 and in future years.
On Aug. 16, 2022, President Biden signed the IRA into law. It is a historic, once-in-a-generation investment and opportunity for the agricultural communities that USDA serves. The IRA will help producers stay on the farm, prevent producers from becoming ineligible for future assistance and promote climate-smart agriculture by increasing access to conservation assistance.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.