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CSP 2012

Conservation Stewardship Program in 2012


The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) presents a significant shift in how NRCS provides conservation program payments. CSP participants will receive an annual land use payment for operation-level environmental benefits they produce. Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance: the higher the operational performance, the
higher their payment.

Program Description

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. CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land in all 50 States and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas. The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated the authority for CSP to the NRCS Chief.

CSP FY 2012 Ranking Period One

The 2012-1 ranking period cut-off date for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is January 27, 2012. Producers interested in CSP should submit applications to their local NRCS Office by the deadline so that their applications can be considered during the first ranking period of 2012.

FY 2012 Ranking Period One CSP Sign-up News Release

FY 2012 Producer Self-Screening Checklist

FY 2012 Conservation Program Application NRCS-CPA-1200

The documents below may require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

North Dakota CSP Geographical Areas  (PDF, 285 KB - 8/24/09)
    Applications will compete for funding with other applications in their area.

CSP Brochure (PDF; 18 MB)

CSP Frequently Asked Questions  - Coming Soon!

North Dakota Species Lists A & B for use with the Conservation Measurement Tool (PDF, 12KB)

Resource Concerns & Ranking Pools  (PDF; 18KB)

CSP Fact Sheet

The CSP program fact sheet is available for download and printing (PDF, 45KB).

CSP Federal Register Rules

Interim Final Rule (Request for Comments)

Final Rule

Eligible Lands

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.

  • cropland
  • grassland
  • prairie land
  • improved pastureland
  • rangeland
  • nonindustrial private forest lands
  • 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.

Applicants must:

  • Be the operator of record in the USDA farm records management system for the eligible land being offered for enrollment;

  • Have documented control of the land for the term of the proposed contract;

  • Include the eligible land in their entire operation as represented for other USDA programs;

  • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions and adjusted gross income.

How CSP Works

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. NRCS will make CSP available nationwide on a continuous application basis.

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee and local work groups, will focus program impacts on natural resources that are of specific concern for a State, or the specific geographic areas within a State. Applications will be evaluated relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns to facilitate a competitive ranking process among applicants within a State who face similar resource challenges.

The entire operation must be enrolled and must include all eligible land operated substantially separate that will be under the applicant's control for the term of the proposed contract.

Program Payments

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.

The annual payment limitation for a person or legal entity is $40,000. A person or legal entity cannot exceed $200,000 for all contracts entered into during any five-year period.

The document below may require Microsoft Excel Viewer.

Is CSP Right For Me?

You can play a large role in determining whether or not CSP is right for you. Here's how:

Conservation Stewardship Self-Screening Checklist
Download and fill out the 2012 Conservation Stewardship Self-Screening Checklist (PDF, 115KB)

You don't have to turn it in to NRCS; it's there to help you determine for CSP is right for you. If you have questions regarding the Checklist, please contact your local NRCS office.

2012 Enhancement Activity Job Sheets

The 2012 Enhancement Activity Job Sheets describe in greater detail the enhancement activities in the Program Activity List.

An "Enhancement" is a conservation activity used to treat natural resources and greatly improve conservation performance. Enhancements are installed at a level of management intensity which exceeds the sustainable level for a given resource concern. Enhancements directly related to a practice standard are applied in a manner that exceeds the minimum treatment requirements of the standard.

CSP Enhancement Information

The document below may require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Conservation Enhancement and Activity List with ND Sideboards  (
PDF; 107 KB)

For More Information

For more information and updates about CSP, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site, the National NRCS Web site, or contact the North Dakota NRCS personnel listed below.

2011 Conservation Stewardship Program Information
2010 Conservation Stewardship Program Information
2009 Conservation Stewardship Program Information

North Dakota Program Contact

Jennifer Heglund
Assistant State Conservationist (Programs)
Phone: 701-530-2095