Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announces that 51 watersheds in 50 states, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Area will be eligible for the 2007 Conservation Security Program (CSP). These watersheds represent more than 64,500 of the nation's potentially eligible farms and ranches, covering nearly 24 million acres of cropland and grazing land.

"This is the fourth year the Conservation Security Program has recognized farmers and ranchers for their ongoing stewardship on working agricultural lands," Johanns said. "Our investment in this voluntary program has already proved beneficial by creating many successful cooperative public-private partnerships across the nation."

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service began CSP in fiscal year 2004. Currently, there are 280 watersheds in CSP nationwide, covering nearly 224 million acres. Based upon President Bush's requested funding level for the program for fiscal year 2007, 51 additional watersheds would be eligible for enrollment. Eligible watersheds are being announced now to allow farmers and ranchers adequate time to gather resource information on their operations in preparation for a prospective sign-up.

CSP is a voluntary program that supports ongoing conservation stewardship on private agricultural working lands and enhances the condition of the nation's natural resources. Under this program, USDA rewards producers who practice good stewardship on agricultural lands and offers incentives to increase the use of conservation practices.

A list of the eligible watersheds can be viewed at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp/2007_CSP_WS/index.html. USDA offers CSP in new watersheds annually on a rotational basis in as many watersheds as funding allows.

For more information about CSP, including a map of the fiscal year 2007 watersheds and eligibility requirements, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp.