The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has announced that the 2006 Conservation Security Program sign-up will be held from Feb. 13 to March 31, 2006 for the Little Kanawha Watershed.

For Roane County this includes the farms in the Reedy Creek, Spring Creek, Henry Fork, and Lower West Fork watersheds." says Sam Sheets, District Conservationist. "The Conservation Security Program rewards farmers who are doing a good job of managing their natural resources and also provides cost share for additional practices which may be needed to improve the operation," said Sheets.

"When we had our informational meetings in December we thought the Lower Greater Kanawha watershed (Pocatalico area of Roane County) would be included this year but due to lack of funds it was dropped for this sign-up period. This may be advantages to the Pocatalico farmers because it gives them more time to get there soil test and farm records needed to sign up for this program."

"Farmers in the Little Kanawha watershed who are interested in receiving payments for doing a good job of soil and water conservation need to sign up now!" says Herb Andrick, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs. "This program is not available every year! They need to sign up now even if only part of their operation meets the criterion at this time."

To be eligible for CSP, most of a producer's agricultural operation must fall within the boundaries of the selected watershed. Applications that meet CSP minimum requirements as set forth in the amendment to the Interim Final Rule published in the Federal Register March 25, 2005, will be placed in enrollment categories.

Categories "A" through "E" will be funded in alphabetical order until funds are exhausted. The CSP amendment to the Interim Final Rule is available for viewing at www.nrcs.usda.gov

Producers begin the application process by filling out a self-assessment to determine if they meet the basic qualifications for CSP. Self-assessment workbooks are available in hard copy at USDA Service Centers within the watersheds, and electronically at www.nrcs.usda.gov

After completing the self-assessment producers should schedule an appointment to discuss their application with the NRCS local staff (927-1023) to determine if they meet specific CSP eligibility requirements.

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