|Western Sustainable Agriculture
Working Group members and friends,
USDA announced today that they will offer 12,700 contracts
for the 2005 applicants to the CSP(see release below).
The USDA estimates this will translate into more than
$1 billion in long term commitment to conservation and
in my words, increased sustainability . Despite all
the current and future issues with this program we should
celebrate this accomplishment!
Speaking of issues, the money was allocated so that
all Category A and Category B applicants were funded
nationally, along with Category C-1. For those who aren't
familiar with this allocation system and how it relates
to the Tier levels (I, II, II) in the CSP law, this
NRCS categorizes applicants into categories- A-E and
Tier I- categories A-E
Tier II - Categories A-E
Tier II - Categories A-E
Also even within Categories we have subcategorizes,
hence the C-1.
So applicants who were in Categories A through C-1
regardless of Tier were funded.
PLEASE not that this allocation system likely means
that more Tier I farmers and ranchers are being funded
because it is much easier to get in at that level then
say a Tier III Category D producer. Another way of saying
this is that some better conservation farmers and ranchers
that applied that are in Tier III or Tier II Category,
C-2 through E are NOT being funded. Hence, the CSP is
not rewarding the best or necessarily motivating the
rest as the USDA has suggested this program should be
doing (i.e. reward the best and motivate the rest).
The Category allocation system is NOT in the CSP law
and is completely concocted by the NRCS. Also even the
Watershed basis of allocation is not in the law, which
also limits access. Finally, because this program is
not funded as a mandatory entitlement program (all eligible
are funded) as the law was authorized, we have cut out
significant number of producers in this country from
accessing this great program. REMEMBER the "rule"
for this program in not final. PLEASE comment on these
and other issues by sending your comments to:
Comments should be postmarked by midnight, September
9. Send comments in writing, by mail, to Financial Assistance
Programs Division, Natural Resources Conservation Service,
P.O. Box 2890, Washington, D.C. 20013-2890, or by e-mail
to FarmBillRules@usda.gov; Attn: Conservation Security
Program. For more information, contact Craig Derickson,
CSP Program Manager, at 202-720-3524 or 202-756-5041