Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) - Illinois
2014 Conservation Stewardship Program Signup
The 2014-1 ranking period cut-off date for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) ended February 07, 2014. Applications are still being accepted. Applications received after February 07, 2014 will be considered for the next ranking period.
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:
Undertaking additional conservation activities; and
Improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.
Through CSP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, Non-Industrial Private Forest lands (NIPF), agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe, and other private agricultural land (including cropped woodland, marshes, and agricultural land used for the production of livestock) on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed.
CSP provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. The entire agricultural operation must be enrolled and must include all agricultural land that will be under the applicant's control for the term of the proposed contract that is operated substantially separate from other operations.
Determining if CSP is Right for You
Producers can review and complete the Producer Self-Screening Checklist to determine whether the Conservation Stewardship Program is right for them. Producers can take a copy of this form, along with maps of their agricultural operation and call ahead for an appointment with their local field office. Additional information can be found on the Conservation Stewardship Program Fact Sheet (PDF, 618kb) and the CSP Informational Fact Sheet (PDF, 3,473kb).
Applying for CSP
Applications for CSP are accepted on a continuous basis; however a signed application, NRCS-CPA-1200 form, must be submitted by close of business January 17, 2014 for 2014 funding consideration.
Applicants must complete the NRCS-CPA-1200 application form available at their local field office or download the application below and return the form to their local NRCS field office. After submitting an application, the applicant will also receive a copy of the NRCS-CPA-1200 Contract Appendix, explaining CSP contract terms and conditions. Reviewing the contract appendix up front helps the applicant understand the requirements of the CSP program. In addition, all applicants need to meet eligibility requirements in order to be a CSP participant. Contact your local office to discuss eligibility criteria.
Conservation Program Application NRCS-CPA-1200 (Feb. 10, 2014) (PDF, 15 KB)
Activities and Enhancement Activity Job Sheets
An Activity List is available to identify new activities that applicants can install or adopt. "Enhancement" means a type of conservation activity used to treat natural resources and improve conservation performance. Enhancements are installed at a level of management intensity that exceeds the sustainable level for a given resource concern, and those directly related to a practice standard are applied in a manner that exceeds the minimum treatment requirements of the standard.
Illinois Priority Resource Concerns
Non-Industrial Private Forest (NIPF)
Animals (domestic & wildlife)
Animals (domestic & wildlife)
• The 2014 Payment for Performance payment rates fact sheet is available online and as a PDF download. (PDF, 106KB)
Operations Baseline Data Questions
To initiate the use of the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) during the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to define their Operation Baseline Data. The CMT will use this data, in part, to determine the conservation performance for existing and additional conservation activities.
The documents below are copies of the Operation Baseline Data questions, grouped by land use. Applicants can download and review the questions, and begin drafting responses to start the process before meeting with NRCS staff.
• Cropland Operation Baseline Data Questions (PDF, 69KB)
• Forestland Operation Baseline Data Questions (PDF, 64KB)
• Pastureland Operation Baseline Data Questions (PDF, 61KB)
Conservation Measurement Tool Inventory (CMT) Questions
As part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete their resource inventory using a Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT determines the conservation performance for existing and additional conservation activities. The documents below are copies of the resource inventory questions, grouped by land use. Applicants can download and review the questions, and begin drafting responses to start resource inventory process before completing the CMT with the local NRCS field office.
• Ranking Period One CMT NIPF General Questions (PDF, 52KB)
• Ranking Period One CMT Tool Ag General Questions (PDF, 17KB)
• Ranking Period One CMT Tool Cropland Questions (PDF, 94KB)
• Ranking Period One CMT Tool Forest Land Questions (PDF, 215KB)
• Ranking Period One CMT Tool Pastureland Questions (PDF, 48KB)
• Ranking Period One CMT Tool Water Questions (PDF, 23KB)
Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) Scoring Process
NRCS will use the CMT to evaluate CSP applications through a point-based system to estimate environmental benefits. The CMT evaluates existing and proposed new activities to calculate conservation performance points which will be used for ranking and payment purposes.
Conservation performance points are programmed in the CMT, along with all controls, filters, and calculations. A scientific validation of CMT is underway and future modifications to these points may be needed.
• Ranking Period One CMT Scoring Process One Pager (PDF, 44 KB)
DUNS-SAM Fact Sheet (PDF 28kb)
Historically Underserved Fact Sheet (PDF 2,046kb)
Organic Crosswalk (PDF, 63kb)
For help with the CSP program in Illinois, contact your local NRCS office.