Conservation Stewardship Program
Highlights and Announcements
In fiscal year (FY) 2014, ended on September 39, 2014, NRCS NM enrolled more than 900,000 new acres and 138 contracts in CSP.
In the first quarter of fiscal year 2015, by December 30, 2014, we will complete our first CSP “renewal” sign-up, as authorized by the Farm Bill. More than 150 contact holders from 2010 were eligible for renewal, and the vast majority are expected expand their conservation activities and sign-up for 5 more years benefiting more than 1.1 million acres of land.
In early calendar year 2016, we anticipate the possibility of national announcement of a general CSP batching date. Dates are specific requirements have yet to be announced, but potential applicants are encouraged to apply at their local NRCS field office, as CSP uses a “continuous sign-up” process.
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 Self-Screening Checklist
(The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.)
Conservation Activity List: FY 2014 General Sign-up and FY 2015 Renewal Sign-up
State Specific Enhancement Requirements
Most details on CSP enhancements have been set nationally (accessible via the links under Enhancement Activity Job Sheets above). However, states have established a variety of supplemental information, such a s species lists and target dates, to supplement the national information.
Enhancements Job Sheets
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.
A "Bundle" is a group of specific enhancements which when installed as a group, addresses resource concerns synergetically.
The following links lead to Enhancement Activity Job Sheets. Each Job Sheet is a complete description of the activities summarized the Conservation Program Activity List:
NM Supplemental Criteria
Animal Enhancement - ANM05 - Extending Riparian Forest Buffers for Water Quality Protection and Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 193 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM07 - Extend Existing Field Borders for Water Quality Protection and Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 175 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM09 - Grazing Management to Improve Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 122 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM10 - Harvest Hay in a Manner that Allows Wildlife to Flush and Escape (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 1,052 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM18 - Retrofit Watering Facility for Wildlife Escape (New Mexico Version)
Animal Enhancement - ANM26 - Managing Calving to Coincide with forage Availability (New Mexico Version - Cattle Timeline) (PDF; 159 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM26 - Managing Calving to Coincide with forage Availability (New Mexico Version - Sheep Timeline) (PDF; 152 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM27 - Wildlife Friendly Fencing (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 176 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM32 - Extend Existing Filter Strip or Riparian Herbaceous Cover for Water Quality Protection and Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 200 KB)
Animal Enhancement - ANM33 - Riparian Buffer Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 258 KB)
Plant Enhancement - PLT15 - Pollinator and/or Beneficial Insects (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 310 KB)
Plant Enhancement - PLT18 - Increasing on Farm Food Production (New Mexico Version) (PDF); 174 KB)
New Mexico Specific Information
CSP applicants in NM will compete in one of two "Ranking Pools": North and South
Ranking pool boundaries are shown in the map below:
Ranking Pool Boundaries
North and South – These boundaries follow the current NRCS Service Center Boundaries that make up the respective NRCS-NM Areas.
Within each ranking pool there are two major and two minor sub-pools. NRCS can help applicants understand the definitions of each, but the final decision as to which "sub-pool" an applicant wants to be considered in rests with the applicant:
Agricultural Lands (includes range, crop and pasture lands)
Non-Industrial Private Forest
Priority Ranking Concerns
Applicants receive both ranking and performance payment points based on factors identified in the rule, including the number of "Priority Resource Concerns" addressed at the time of application, and during the life of the contract. Priority Resource Concerns for each land use (agricultural lands and forest lands) for each major ranking pool are as follows:
North and South Ranking Pool Priority Resource Concerns:
Agricultural Lands: Animals, Energy, Plants, Soil Quality, and Water Quantity
Non-Industrial Private Forest Land: Air Quality, Animals, Energy, Plants, and Water Quality
Resource Conserving Crops
As described in national programmatic materials, some producers will qualify for both annual and supplemental payments. In order to quality for supplemental payments, a farmer must implement a (new) resource conserving crop rotation. National criteria on resource conserving crop rotations are available on the national web site. In New Mexico, the following specific crops have been identified as resource conserving crops: Alfalfa; Barley (Fall); Birdsfoot Trefoil; Buckwheat; Clover; Red; Clover; Strawberry; Clover, White; Cowpeas; Fescue; Tall; Hairy Vetch; Medics; Oats; Orchard grass; Peas; Winter Rye (cereal); Ryegrass; Smooth Brome; Sorghum (seed); Sorghum-sudan grass; Sun Hemp; Sweet Clover; Timothy; Triticale; Winter; Wheat; and Wheatgrass, Tall.
Specific requirements for resource conserving crop rotations incorporate both national guidance on rotations, and state specific lists of resource conserving crops.
The 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.
For more specific application information please contact your local district conservationist. Programmatic details are available from Seth Fiedler, CSP Coordinator or Clifford Sanchez, ASTC for Programs.