This report examines the efficacy of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. These states were selected based on their high rates of CSP contracts and acres enrolled in the program, as well as their role as agriculture-centric states. Through surveying participants in these regions, we acquired valuable data from farmers and ranchers regarding their enrollment and satisfaction with the program.
The survey results showed many farmers and ranchers value the opportunity CSP offers to build upon their existing conservation efforts. Whether through implementation of new farming techniques, developing a better understanding of how the actions on their farms impact natural resources, or through upgrading technology, participants are finding the program enhances their conservation efforts. Many farmers and ranchers also reported that after enrolling, they were able to see positive benefits and improved conditions on their land. The majority of farmers and ranchers who responded reported a high level of satisfaction with the program and stated CSP should be prioritized in the 2018 farm bill.
For decades, the Center for Rural Affairs has advocated for policy that supports healthy farms and rural communities, and conservation has been a central pillar of our work. We seek to ensure our conservation programs continue to provide strong support to farmers and ranchers for their environmental stewardship. The findings of this report point to widespread support for CSP and emphasize the need to preserve and support the program in the 2018 farm bill.