Assistance Available to Agricultural Producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

LINCOLN, Jan. 19, 2018 – Agricultural producers wanting to enhance current conservation efforts are encouraged to apply for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps private landowners build their business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of their entire operation. NRCS plans to enroll up to 10 million acres in CSP in 2018.

While applications for CSP are accepted year round, applications must be received by March 2, 2018, to be considered for this funding period.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like nutrient and pest management, cover crops and tree plantings– all while maintaining active agriculture production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of cutting-edge technologies and new management techniques such as precision agriculture applications, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Some of these benefits of CSP include:

  • Improved cattle gains per acre;
  • Increased crop yields;
  • Decreased inputs;
  • Wildlife population improvements; and
  • Better resilience to weather extremes.

NRCS recently made several updates to the program to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds, and allow them to pick practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives. These tools also enable producers to see potential payment scenarios for conservation early in the process.

Producers interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit

2018 Nebraska Cover Crop Conference February 15th

Coming up on Thursday, February 15th is the 2018 Nebraska Cover Crop Conference held at the Eastern Nebraska Research and Development Center near Mead, NE. It will take place in the August N. Christenson building. It is provided by Nebraska Extension, a program within the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It runs from 9:00-3:30 p.m.

About: This event is geared specifically towards producers of corn and soybeans, and it provides useful information about the benefits of utilizing cover crops.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. the day of the event, but in order to ensure resources and meal planning is accurate, those who wish are able to pre-register by February 9th by calling (402)-624-8030 or sending an email to

Speakers and Presentations: This year Extension offers several informative guest speakers and presentations to answer any questions about cover crops. The presentations are:

The Banker Won’t Like Wheat, but Your Soil Will–Here’s Why!

Nathan Mueller, Nebraska Extension Educator

Will Cover Crops be a New Home for Insects?

–Justin McMechan, Nebraska Extension Entomologist

Cover Crops for Ephemeral Gully Control

–Dan Gillespie, No-Till Specialist, NRCS

How Cover Crops Work on My Farm

–Bill Nielsen, Minden, NE

Why I Encourage My Customers to Use Cover Crops

–Lee Briese, Independent Crop Consultant, Recipient of the 2016 International Certified Crop Advisor of the Year Award, Edgley, ND

Why I Use Cover Crops on My Farm

–Kelly Tobin, Corn/Soybean Grower, New Castle, IA

Cover Crops for Corn and Soybean Producers

–Keith Berns, Green Cover Seed, Bladen, NE

Farmer Panel

–Discussion with Growers, Landowners, and Consultants

More information including a downloadable flyer and a link for maps and directions can be found here at:


February 2018 Clinic Dates

Farmers and ranchers are invited to attend a FREE clinic.  The clinics are one-on-one, not group sessions, and are confidential.  The Farm Finance clinic gives you a chance to meet with an experienced Ag law attorney and Ag financial counselor.  These clinic staff specialize in legal and financial issues related to farming and ranching, including financial planning, estate and transition planning, farm loan programs, debtor/creditor law, water rights, and other relevant matters.  Here is an opportunity to obtain an experienced outside opinion on issues that may be affecting your farm or ranch.  Bring your questions!

The FREE farm and ranch clinics will be in these locations:

Norfolk – Thursday, February 1st

Fairbury – Wednesday, February 7th

North Platte – Thursday, February 8th

Lexington – Thursday, February 15th

Grand Island – Thursday, February 22nd

Kearney – Friday, February 23rd

Norfolk – Tuesday, February 27th

Valentine – Wednesday, February 28th

To sign up for a clinic or for more information, call Michelle at the Nebraska Farm Hotline:  1-800-464-0258.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Legal Aid of Nebraska sponsor the farm finance clinics.

Legal Aid of NebraskaFarm mediation

NSAS Healthy Farms Conference- February 9th and 10th

2018: Plan to attend the Healthy Farms Conference of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society. The dates for 2018 are February 9th and 10th and it will be held at the Cornhusker Hotel in Lincoln.


Wes Jackson;   founder and president emeritus of The Land Institute, earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina; a master’s degree in botany from the University of Kansas, and a doctorate in genetics from North Carolina State University. He established and served as chair of one of the country’s first environmental studies programs at California State University-Sacramento and then returned to his native Kansas to found The Land Institute in 1976. He is the author of several books, including New Roots for Agriculture, Becoming Native to This Place, Consulting the Genius of the Place, and most recently Nature as Measure. Wes is widely recognized as a leader in the international movement for a more sustainable agriculture. He was a Pew Conservation Scholar in 1990, a MacArthur Fellow in 1992, and received the Right Livelihood Award in 2000. Life magazine included him as one of 18 individuals predicted to be among the 100 important Americans of the 20th century. Smithsonian in 2005 included him as one of “35 Who Made a Difference.”

Lodging- There are several options for lodging including 2 level suites. Make reservations at 1-866-706-7706, attendees will need to ask for Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society event rate. The hotel comes with numerous family friendly options and includes a pool and workout area. The hotel will also be providing a complimentary reservation link to the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society for online reservations, coming soon.

Sessions: This year’s agenda offers a number of breakout sessions with topics ranging from farm accounting to organic row cropping and holistic orchards to sustainable vegetable production. We will also once again have a full youth program with many of the presenters being youth and presenting on projects from their farms.

Fly Management

Cover Crops

Hops Production

Holistic Management Financial Planning

HM Biological Monitoring

Grazing Cover Crops

Estate Planning for Sustainable Farms and Ranches

Budgets for small farms including veggies, fruit and small livestock

Increasing Farm Productivity

Farm Accounting

Purchasing a Small Farm


Creating diverse habitats for native wildlife and farms to coexist

Exploring New Ideas In Sustainable Agriculture

Grazing Management

Writing Grants

Pastured Hog Production

Slow Meat; a Slow Food look at sustainable meat production

And more!

 The complete list will be available on our website and will be updated as they are confirmed!

About: The Healthy Farms Conference has been hosted by NSAS for over 40 years.  From Aurora to Grand Island and Nebraska City to Columbus, the conference has laid the framework for promoting sustainable agriculture and local foods in Nebraska and the Midwest. The Healthy Farms Conference features over 20 breakout sessions aimed at equipping farmers, aspiring farmers, foodies, and advocates to with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful.  The conference also features several keynote sessions meant to inspire and motivate people to action, and that what they are doing and why they are doing it makes a difference. Together we can change the world one farmer, one eater at a time! The conference also provides support for current farmers by fostering growth and stability in sustainable farming methods, including organic agriculture and sustainable agriculture.  We do this by helping farmers to develop innovative ideas and projects that can impact their local communities and areas. A variety of interactive educational opportunities are available for adults and youth. Participants will have the chance to network with farmers, university faculty, and fellow agricultural colleagues. Besides providing informative, educational sessions the conferences has commercial and educational exhibits. The Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society has been hosting the Healthy Farms Conference for over 40 years.

Roundtable Discussions- We will once again be hosting the roundtable discussions on Saturday morning of the conference.  The format will be similar to last year, and we will set aside additional time for these discussions. Have a topic? Email William @!

NSAS Annual Awards- Each year at the Healthy Farms Conference we recognize farmers, young/beginning farmers, chefs & organizations who are making a difference.  If you would like to nominate someone please email. Nominations should include a brief message as to why this person, farm, or group should be nominated. We request that nominations be received by December 1st.

Exhibitor/Sponsor Information- There are numerous ways to participate in the conference including exhibitor and sponsor opportunities.  If you are interested please email William at

All-Nebraska events & Food!
The first and original local foods event in Nebraska. A majority of the foods for the entire conference including all meals and breaks will be sourced from NSAS members, and from local sustainable farms.  We are creating a menu unique to the season and place and welcome farmers to provide input on what products they might have available at the time to feature at the conference!

The All-Nebraska Evening will consist of a local foods dinner, a live auction fundraiser and we’ll cap the evening with local musicians providing the entertainment. February 9th

Website- Check for complete details to be updated at,
Look for the official conference brochure later this month and December complete with registration instructions and how to register online.

The Healthy Farms Conference is the annual conference of the Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society.  

For information and to join please visit,