Nebraska Conservation Program Open for Enrollment

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska landowners and operators have until Jan. 17 to sign up for a federal conservation program.  The Conservation Stewardship Program provides financial aid to help farmers and ranchers conserve natural resources, including water and soil. The program is run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.      Participants receive annual payments for the environmental benefits they produce on their operations.  Applications are accepted at any time, but for the deadline for the current ranking and funding period is Jan. 17.  Craig Derickson of the Natural Resources Conservation Service says contracts have gone into effect in all 93 counties, and cover about 4.8 million acres in Nebraska. Derickson says the program is popular in Nebraska because it doesn't require farmers and ranchers to take their land out of production.