Changes make CSP benefits more measurable
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Manager Sarah Haymaker says enhancements made to the program last fall will help measure its benefits, such as tons of soil saved and soil health improvements.
“Those are things that have not been very clearly measured in the past,” said Haymaker Tuesday. “We have some very general information about those measurements, but now we’ll be able to get a lot more specific with measuring those environmental benefits.”
Conservation Stewardship Program contracts that began in 2013 are up for renewal by May 5th, according to Haymaker, with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Washington, D.C.
CSP practices can improve a producer’s bottom line, she said. Cover crops or rotational grazing, for instance, can increase pounds of gain per acre for cattle, or it can improve crop performance.
“We see a lot of times, by doing practices enhancements that benefit soil health, that you do have a resulting crop yield increase,” she said.
Conservation stewardship practices can also reduce production expenses, said Haymaker.
“By adapting to a more intense nutrient management system,” said Haymaker, “it’s possible that you are decreasing your inputs, which would increase the bottom line.”
AUDIO: Sarah Haymaker (9 min. MP3)