March 4, 2015

Enrollment Deadline Extended for Conservation Stewardship Program

USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced  that the deadline for producer applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to March 13, 2015.


While CSP is a continuous sign-up program and producers can apply to enroll at any time of the year, NRCS applies a cut-off date for applications to be considered during a particular fiscal year.  Once the cut-off date is past, producers may continue to apply for the program, but they will not be considered for entry until the spring of the following year, in this case spring of 2016. In order to enroll in 2015 applications must filed by March 13.


“We hope more farmers and ranchers will take advantage of this extension for the CSP application deadline. To meet this deadline, they just need to submit the basic application form to their local NRCS office,” said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director of Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs.


According to Bruckner, the Conservation Stewardship Program is a voluntary stewardship incentives program, administered by NRCS, designed to reward farmers, ranchers, and foresters for maintaining existing conservation, as well as for the adoption of additional conservation measures that provide multiple environmental benefits that run beyond the farm or ranch. This program pays producers for clean water, better soil management, improved habitat, energy efficiency, and other natural resource benefits. Since the program began in 2009, nearly 70 million acres of farm and ranch land have been enrolled in the program.


To sign up, producers should visit their NRCS local service center (


Bruckner is encouraging farmers, ranchers and others to call the Center for Rural Affairs’ Farm Bill Helpline to share their experiences, both positive and negative. “We know the previous sign-ups have yielded some great success stories for farmers and ranchers, but also some disappointments and frustrations.”


“We want this program to work for all farmers and ranchers employing conservation-based farming systems, and firmly believe the CSP is a step in the right direction for policy to financially reward historical commitments to conservation, as well as encourage further adoption,” Bruckner continued. “This is a far better approach than paying to clean-up problems.”


“One of the main goals for our Farm Bill Helpline is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of programs such as the CSP,” said Bruckner. “It is only with that information that we are able to push for any needed changes and improvements.”


Producers can also receive guidance for applying for other conservation programs. “Through our helpline you will speak to someone who is knowledgeable about the program rules to help you understand how to participate in the program,” Bruckner added.


South Dakota Beef Industry Council To Meet March 9

burgerThe South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) board of directors will meet on March 9, 2015 in Pierre, S.D. at the Red Rossa Conference Center to discuss upcoming projects of the state’s Beef Checkoff Program.
The meeting is open to the public, and RSVPs for the noon meal on Monday are due by March 6,” said Karla Pazour, SDBIC president. “These meetings determine how checkoff dollars are spent in South Dakota, as well as nationally and globally.”
Pazour credits the Beef Checkoff Program for keeping beef on foodservice menus and increasing demand for beef around the world, despite rising beef costs.
“The checkoff is mindful of the hard work that beef producers provide daily to meet the needs of today’s consumer,” said Pazour. “It is of utmost importance that we continue to support research and education that helps consumers feel good about the beef product that they love to eat.”
In addition to the quarterly financial and event reports, the SDBIC board of directors will discuss current hot topics, such as the proposed 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which call for the reduction of red meat from a healthy diet. In other new business, the directors will discuss the approved verbiage from the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group that would increase the checkoff assessment by one dollar to achieve a national rate of $2/head for each cattle transaction.
“As usual, at each quarterly meeting, individual committees will be going over proposals for future projects that support promotion, research or education of our beef product,” said Pazour. “Our target audience is the young Millennial parent, and funding is determined by how well the proposal reaches that influential market. A newly formed evaluation committee will be looking over current projects and giving direction or focus for future events.”


For more information on SDBIC projects, check out



Important To Get Soybeans Off To A Good Start

Soybean PlantPlanting season is around the corner, and there are some tips that soybean producers should consider….We’ll talk about that up next…

On the sidelines of Commodity Classic in Phoenix, we caught up with Kendall Nichols – the Director of Research Programs for the North Dakota Soybean Council.  We talked about getting soybeans off to a good start this season.

Nichols 1

Growers are strongly urged to test their soils for Soybean Cyst Nematode.
Crop rotation and resistance are the most important management tools against the disease.

Variety trial data from all NDSU Research Extension Centers for all crops can be found at