FY17 Conservation Stewardship Program
Conservation Stewardship Program
Your Stewardship Goals. Our Assistance.
Have you ever looked across your property and thought about some land management goals you would like to take to the next level? Maybe we can help.
No one knows more about your land than you do, and no one knows more about conservation than we do. Together we can develop a plan tailored to your land and your goals to help you increase productivity and protect the value of your land.
Our Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps you build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation. CSP is for working lands. It’s the largest conservation program in the United States with 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled. Thousands of people have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation.
How Does CSP Work?
Most agricultural producers that are approved to participate in CSP have already been implementing conservation practices on their land. CSP offers enhancements for those practices. For example, if you have been practicing prescribed grazing, CSP would give you options to enhance that practice with activities such as grazing management to improve plants for wildlife, or grazing management to reduce soil compaction, or grazing management to improve riparian function, just to name a few.
If you decide to enroll in CSP, the local NRCS conservation planner will have a one-on-one consultation with you to evaluate your current management system and the natural resources on your agricultural operation. Then the NRCS conservation planner will determine if current activities on your agricultural operation meets stewardship eligibility and assist you in identifying CSP enhancements to consider based on your existing conservation practices.
Once you choose the enhancements that best fit your agricultural operation, CSP offers annual incentive payments for installing these practices on your land. If you want to take it even a step further, CSP also offers bundles where you can select a suite of enhancements.
Are you eligible? CSP is open to individuals, entities, and Indian Tribes operating working agricultural lands (farms or ranches) or non-industrial private forest land. Before applying for CSP, the the applicant must be the operator in the Farm Services Agency (FSA) farm records management system for the agricultural operation being offered for the program. The applicant must have effective control of the lands for the life of the contract, be compliant with the highly erodible land (HEL) and wetland conservation (WC) provisions, and be compliant with payment eligibility provisions, including the adjusted gross income (AGI) provision.
In addition, CSP provides opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged producers. Nationally, the program aims to enroll at least five percent of total program acres operated by beginning farmers and ranchers and another five percent operated by socially disadvantaged producers. Within each specified geographic area and land use, beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged producers will have a separate funding pool.
Is your land eligible? The CSP contract must include all eligible and ineligible lands on an applicant’s agricultural operation, that the applicant has effective control for the life of the CSP contract, which is 5 years. Eligible lands consist of cropland, pastureland, rangeland, forestlands, Agricultural Land Easements (ALE), and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in certain cases.
Stewardship Threshold: Applicants must meet the stewardship threshold for at least two priority resource concerns when they apply and agree to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least one additional priority resource concern by the end of the contract.
CSP Contracts and Payments
The program represents a genuine commitment to conservation. CSP contracts last five years, with the option to renew if you successfully fulfill the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. An NRCS conservation planner will work closely with you throughout the entire process.
Contract payments are based on two components:
- Annual Payment - Payments to maintain the existing conservation based on the operation type and number of resource concerns that are meeting the stewardship level at the time of application; and
- Additional Payment - Payments to implement additional conservation activities (such as enhancements and bundles). Additional payment amounts will be made based on payment schedules, similar to other NRCS assistance programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
NRCS will make a $1,500 minimum payment to a CSP contract in any fiscal year that the contract’s payment amount total is less than $1,500.
You will be required to maintain the stewardship level of the resource concerns you are already meeting, plus meet or exceed at least one additional resource concern in each land use by the end of the contract. If the objectives of the initial CSP contract are achieved, you may be eligible to re-enroll for an additional 5 year contract if you agree to adopt additional conservation activities to meet or exceed two additional priority resource concerns.
CSP applications are accepted continuously throughout the year. Specific application ranking dates will be announced.
For more information about CSP in Oregon, contact:
Todd Peplin, CSP Program Manager