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Conservation Stewardship Program

Program Description

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operation through financial and technical assistance.  The program is administered by the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service( NRCS).  CSP is available on a continuous signup basis and is available statewide.Cows grazing

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, improved pastureland, nonindustrial private forest lands and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.

CSP offers participants two possible types of payments:

·         Annual payment for installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities

·         Supplemental payment for the adoption of resource-conserving crop rotations (PDF;102KB)

Funding Pools

Mississippi has established four geographical regions based on their priority resource concerns.  Each approved application will be funded based on the geographic region of the property offered in the program.

Geographical Region



Soil     Erosion

Soil      Quality

Water Quantity

Water  Quality

Delta Region







Northeast Hills Region







Central Hills Region







South Hills Region







How to Apply

The CSP is offered through a continuous signup and applications received by March 31, 2016, will be considered for funding during the 2016-1 ranking period.  Applicants interested in the program should look over the CSP Fact Sheet and CSP Producer Self-Screening Checklist provided below.  To apply for CSP or for more information, contact the NRCS office located at your local USDA Service Center.

These files requires Adobe Reader

CSP Conservation Program Application (English) (PDF; 50KB)

CSP Conservation Program Application (Spanish) (PDF; 50KB)

Longleaf Pine Initiative Pilot Map (PDF; 116KB)

Longleaf Pre-screening Questions (PDF; 169KB)

Following Documents coming soon

2016 Conservation Stewardship Program Timeline (PDF; )


 CSP Self-Screening Checklist, Fact Sheet and Activity List

These files require Adobe Reader

Conservation Stewardship Program Self-Screening Checklist (PDF: 178KB)

CSP Fact Sheet (PDF; 610KB))

CSP Conservation Activity List (PDF; 133KB)


"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 Enhancement Activity Job sheets for Mississippi

Operations Baseline Data Questions

To initiate the use of the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) during the CSP application process, you'll work with NRCS field personnel to define your 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. You can download and review the questions, and begin drafting responses to start the process before you meet with NRCS staff.

Conservation Measurement Tool Inventory (CMT) Questions

As part of the CSP application process, you'll work with NRCS field personnel to complete your resources inventory using a Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT determines the conservation performance for existing and additional conservation activities.

Conservation Measurement Tool Inventory Questons (PDF; 164KB)

The documents below are copies of the resource inventory questions, grouped by land use. You can download and review the questions, and begin drafting responses to start resource inventory process before you complete the CMT in your local NRCS office.

Ranking Period One CMT All (PDF; )
Ranking Period One CMT Tool Ag General Questions (PDF; )
Ranking Period One CMT Tool Cropland Questions (PDF, )
Ranking Period One CMT Tool Forest Land Questions (PDF; )
Ranking Period One CMT Tool Pastureland Questions (PDF; )
Ranking Period One CMT Tool Water Questions (PDF; )
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; )
Ranking Period One CMT Scoring (PDF; )
Ranking Period One CMT Questions and Effects Scores (PDF; )
Ranking Period One Activities and Effects Scores - Includes Practice List (PDF; )





Organic Crosswalk

The 2008 Farm Bill recognized the growing interest and support of organic agriculture across the country and required the development of a transparent means by which producers may initiate organic certification while participating in a CSP contract.  "The Conservation Stewardship Program's Contribution to Organic Transitioning - The Organic Crosswalk", provides an explanation of how CSP enhancements can be used to assist producers in meeting individual National Organic Program (NOP) rules while going through the transitioning period.

Other CSP information 

Conservation Stewardship Program News Release - Extension (PDF;38KB)

Conservation Stewardship Program News Release (PDF; 38KB)

State Contact

Mary Williams
CSP Program Manager
(601) 965-5205 ext. 139

Clarence Finley
Asst. State Conservationist (Programs)
(601) 965-5205, ext. 111


For further information and assistance, contact your local NRCS Service Center.

If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Yolanda Jackson at 601-965-4139 ext. 166.