The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the sign-up period for the 2008 Conservation Security Program (CSP) until May 30, 2008. Landowners in 51 eligible watersheds across the country, including the Concho Watershed in Texas, will have two additional weeks to apply.

A sign-up extension announcement is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on May 9, 2008. Originally, the CSP sign-up was scheduled to run from April 18-May 16, 2008.

“Spring is a busy time for farmers and ranchers,” said Don Gohmert, NRCS state conservationist for Texas. “We are extending the sign-up as much as possible to give producers a little more time to gather natural resource information and complete the required self-assessment and still give us time to deliver a program this year.”

CSP, a voluntary program, encourages and rewards producers who practice outstanding stewardship on working agricultural land by offering financial incentives that increase with the level of conservation effort. Soil and water quality are the primary focus of this program; however, program goals also include improved wildlife habitat, air quality, and environmentally responsible energy production.

NRCS began CSP in 2004. Currently, there are 331 enrolled watersheds covering nearly 248 million acres in CSP nationwide, including the 51 watersheds in this year’s sign-up. For more information about CSP and eligibility requirements, visit the NRCS website at http://www.tx.nrcs.usda.gov/.