Conservation Stewardship Program
Fiscal Year 2015 Application Cutoff Deadlines
NEW DEADLINE!! 2015 General Signup Application Batching Cutoff Date – March 13, 2015
2011 Contract Renewal Deadline - March 31, 2015
General Program Information
The Conservation Stewardship Program helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance - the higher the performance, the higher the payment.
CSP provides two types of payments through five-year contracts: annual payments for installing new conservation activities and maintaining existing practices; and supplemental payments for adopting a resource-conserving crop rotation. Producers may be able to renew a contract if they have successfully fulfilled the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. Payments are made soon as practical after October 1 of each fiscal year for contract activities installed and maintained in the previous year.
The 2014 Agriculture Act authorized both renewal and annual enrollments for CSP. CSP contracts are five years in length and may be renewed one time if the participant meets the eligibility requirements at the time of the renewal application.
Applicant: Individuals, entities and Indian Tribes operating agricultural or private non-industrial forest land. Prior to submitting an application, the applicant must be listed as the operator of the land in the Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm records management system.
Land: Producers must have effective control of the land for the length of the proposed contract (5 years). Contracts will include all eligible land in the agricultural operation.
Applicants must meet the stewardship threshold for at least two priority resource concerns when they apply and must agree to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least one additional priority resource concern by the end of the contract. Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
How to Apply
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Interested land managers and growers can begin the application process by completing the following steps:
- Complete a Self Screening Checklist (.pdf)
- Verify program eligibility at your local USDA Service Center.
- Submit a Program Application Form (.pdf)
- Submit an operation map, aerial photograph or overlay that identifies your agricultural and/or forest operation and associated acreages.
Once these steps are completed, NRCS will work with applicants to enter information about their agricultural operation in the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT is an online questionnaire that evaluates the applicant’s management and additional conservation activities in addressing all natural resources on their agricultural operation. The CMT determines whether the applicant meets the land stewardship threshold necessary to participate in the program, ranking score, and payments that the producer will receive if he or she ranks for funding.
The Organic Crosswalk
The Act of 2014 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.
The Organic Crosswalk (.pdf)
CSP National NRCS Website
Enhancement Activity Job Sheets New!
Please note: Not all of the national enhancements will be available in New York.
Please check with your local field office for the New York list of enhancments after February 17.
Payment Rates (Coming Soon)
New York Funding Pool Map (Coming Soon)
Program Application Form
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CSP Fact Sheet (PDF; 618 KB)
Find your local USDA Service Center.
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