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The New
Conservation Stewardship Program
Darvin Bentlage -- CSP Contract Applicant

by Tim Gibbons
Columbia, Missouri

Barton County land, Missouri.
Barton County land, Missouri.

The new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, offers payments for adding conservation practices and maintaining and managing existing conservation practices. Unlike the previous CSP, which was watershed specific, any farmer in Missouri can now apply. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland and non-industrial forestland. This article is one of three describing the advantages of the CSP. For more info contact the Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MRCC) at 573-449-1336.

Darvin Bentlage, a livestock and grain farmer from Barton County, Missouri, is looking for a way to increase his on-farm conservation while increasing his bottom line. Already employing conservation practices on his land, and always looking for more, CSP is a perfect match for his operation.

"CSP should be perfect for my farm. I won’t have to change things too much and will be rewarded for the conservation practices I am already doing," says Bentlage. "It seems this may be a very good program to reward us for things we have done to protect our valuable resource. Our land!"

In order to fit the guidelines for his CSP contract, Darvin will be increasing his buffers from 10-15 feet to 30-45 feet. He will also increase his riparian areas to decrease runoff and increase wildlife habitat. An additional enhancement will include increased soil testing, additional crop rotation and adding legumes onto pasture land. Darvin was also already terracing and rotating his crops, and utilizing no-till and soil tests.

"The only problem I may face is resting certain pasture land for 1 month because of a lack of water sources on my land, but I plan on working with NRCS to find a solution."

Darvin Bentlage -- Contract Applicant Snapshot

Previous On-Farm Conservation Practices:

  • Buffer strips
  • Terraces
  • Soil testing
  • Crop rotation
  • No-till
  • Riparian areas for water ways
  • No-till on crop land.

Conservation Enhancements through CSP:

  • Additional and increased buffer strips and riparian areas
  • Additional crop rotations

Also see:

Published in In Motion Magazine July 6, 2010.

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