Conservation Stewardship Program
NRCS is making available $150 million nationally for agricultural producers through the Conservation Stewardship Program in fiscal year 2016, which will add an estimated 10 million acres to the rolls of USDA’s largest conservation program. **Cutoff March 31 for CSP Applications, Renewals**
NRCS accepts applications for CSP throughout the year, but agricultural producers should submit applications by March 31 to USDA Service Centers to ensure they are considered for enrollment in 2016.
Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire on December 31, 2016, have the option to renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. Applications to renew are also due by March 31.
2016 Enhancement Activity Job Sheets are Now Available
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.
Conservation Program Application NRCS-CPA-1200 (PDF, 104KB)
How to Apply
Visit your local USDA Service Center to get started.
To see more detailed information about CSP, visit Take A Closer Look at CSP.
CSP Fact Sheet (PDF, 618KB)
To learn how to Get Started with NRCS