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Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) - Illinois


2015 Conservation Stewardship Program Signup

The 2015-1 General sign up application deadline for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) has been extended to March 13, 2015. Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however applications submitted by March 13, 2015 will be considered for 2015 funding.


Program Overview

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 following documents:

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 March 13, 2015 for 2015 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 (English) (PDF, 18 KB)
Appendix to Form NRCS-CPA-1202 (English) (PDF, 40 KB)

Conservation Program Application NRCS-CPA-1200 (Spanish) (PDF 18 KB)
Appendix for Form NRCS-CPA-1202 (Spanish) (PDF, 48 KB)


Activities and Enhancement Activity Job Sheets

An Illinois 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.

CSP Job Sheets

Illinois Supplement to CSP 2015 Enhancement

Illinois Applicable Priority Resource Concerns

 Ag Land Non-Industrial Private Forest (NIPF)
Animals (domestic & wildlife) Animals (domestic & wildlife)
Energy Plants
Soil Erosion Soil Erosion
Soil Quality Soil Quality
Water Quality Water Quality


Illinois Fund Pools

Illinois has six separate fund pools for interested CSP applicants which include:

Ag Lands:

  • Statewide Ag Lands
  • Statewide Ag Lands – Beginning Farmer
  • Statewide Ag Lands – Socially Disadvantaged

Non-Industrial Private Forest (NIPF):

  • Statewide NIPF
  • Statewide NIPF – Beginning Farmer
  • Statewide NIPF – Socially Disadvantaged


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.

2015 Operation Baseline Data Questions


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.

2015 CMT Resource Inventory Questions

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.


Additional Information

Contact Information:

For help with the CSP program in Illinois, contact your local NRCS office.