The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) authorized the Conservation Stewardship Program. Congress renamed and revamped the former Conservation Security Program to improve its availability and appeal to agricultural and forestry producers. The Conservation Stewardship Program will be offered in all 50 states, District of Columbia, and the Pacific and Caribbean areas through continuous sign-ups with announced cut-off application dates for ranking periods. Congress capped the annual acreage enrollment at 12,769,000 acres nationwide.
Comments on the Conservation Stewardship Program interim final rule can be submitted online, or through regular mail, e-mail, fax or in person. Information on how to submit comments is available at the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service's Web site at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/farmbill/2008/index.html and at the Federal Register at www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/.
The Conservation Stewardship Program is
a voluntary conservation program designed to encourage agricultural and forestry producers to adopt additional conservation activities and improve, maintain, and manage existing ones. Individual landowners, legal entities, and Indian tribes may be eligible to apply for Conservation Stewardship Program assistance. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie, improved pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland-a new land use for the program-and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.