If you have farmers who you think might have been considering signing up for the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) fiscal year (FY) 2012 ranking period, you might want to let them know the cutoff for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to Jan. 27, 2012.

Interested farmers and ranchers have until Friday, January 27, 2012, to complete the initial application form to compete for a spot in the 2012 enrollment class for the program. To sign up, producers need to visit their NRCS local service center.

There has been a continuous sign-up, but if a farmer misses the cut-off they must aait a full year. 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 2013, so if a farmer wants to enroll in 2012, they must get an application filed by January 27.

The application form, available at local NRCS offices, is a fairly short and a simple one. Producers will also need to fill out the NRCS-CPA-1200 form. It is the same short generic two page form that is used for all the NRCS conservation programs offering financial assistance to farmers and ranchers.