Conservation Stewardship Program
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:
Improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities; and
Undertaking additional conservation activities.
CSP encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land where resource concerns related to agricultural production can be addressed. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, improved pastureland, pastured cropland, or nonindustrial private forest land, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. CSP provides financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to address natural resource concerns on their lands.
2014 CSP applications are due January 17.
CSP 2013 Job Sheets list the types of conservation activities available to treat natural resources and improve conservation performance.
Conservation Stewardship Fact Sheet (December 2011)
Maryland Priority Resource Concerns
The program and priority resource concerns are applicable statewide. (map)
Basic Eligibility Requirements
The applicant’s entire operation (operated substantially separate from other operations-determined by equipment, labor, management, and production or cultivation practices) must be enrolled. Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Be the operator of record in the USDA farm records management system for the land being offered for enrollment.
Have effective control of the land for the 5 year term of the CSP contract. Effective control is defined to mean the possession of the land by ownership, written lease, or other legal agreement and authority to act as decision maker for the day-to-day management of the operation both at the time the applicant enters into a Stewardship Contract and for the 5 year period of the contract. Applicants will self-certify control at the time of application and all contract participants will be subject to an annual random verification process to confirm they have control for the required contract period.
Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of USDA.
Include all eligible land in their entire agricultural or forestry operation.
CSP Payment Structure
CSP pays participants for conservation performance-the higher the performance, the higher the payment. CSP provides participants two possible types of payments:
An annual payment for conservation activities. The annual payment is split between one payment rate for existing activities and a higher payment rate for additional activities. Participants must install at least one additional activity on a land use to earn annual payments.
A supplemental payment for the adoption of a resource-conserving crop rotation.
2013 Payment Rates
How To Apply
Review the Conservation Stewardship Self-Screening Checklist and the Conservation Program Activity List. If you think CSP is right for you, fill out the the Conservation Stewardship Program Application, and turn it in to your local USDA Service Center.
The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader:
2013 Conservation Stewardship Self-Screening Checklist (December 2011) (PDF, 98KB)
2013 Conservation Stewardship Program Activity List (September 2012) (PDF, 98KB)
2013 Conservation Stewardship Program Application (PDF, 42KB)
2013 Job Sheets
NRCS Field Offices, located in the USDA Service Centers in each Maryland county, can provide additional details and program assistance concerning CSP eligibility requirements, practices, and payments.
Visit the National NRCS Web site for more information about the Conservation Stewardship Program.
Farm Bill Program Specialist (AMA, CSP02, CSP08, WHIP)
Phone: 410.848.6696 x113
Assistant State Conservationist - Programs