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Conservation Stewardship Program

People review map in crop field

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.


Through CSP, participants take additional steps to improve resource condition including soil quality, water quality, water quantity, air quality, and habitat quality, as well as energy.

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.


Eligible lands include private and Tribal agricultural lands, cropland, grassland, pastureland, rangeland and nonindustrial private forest land.  CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced. Applicants may include individuals, legal entities, joint operations or Indian tribes that meet the stewardship threshold for at least two priority resource concerns when they apply. They must also agree to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least one additional priority resource concern by the end of the contract.
Producers must have effective control of the land for the term of the proposed contract. Contracts include all eligible land in the agricultural operation.

Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

Is CSP Right For Me?

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

Download and fill out the 2016 Conservation Stewardship Self-Screening Checklist (PDF, 178KB)

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

CSP Application

Conservation Program Application NRCS-CPA-1200 (PDF, 104KB)

How to Apply

Visit your local USDA Service Center to get started.

Detailed Information

To see more detailed information about CSP, visit Take A Closer Look at CSP.

Additional Information

CSP Fact Sheet (PDF, 618KB)

To learn how to Get Started with NRCS

Program Contact

Angel Arehart
CSP Manager