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Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Fiscal year 2014 application period has been extended to February 7, 2014. All applications signed and turned into your local NRCS office by close of business on this date will be considered for funding in fiscal year 2014. Applications are accepted on a continual basis.

CSP can help you address additional resource concerns on your farm, ranch, or private forestland. For more information about  the program, contact your local NRCS field office.

Program Description

CSP encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land. The program is available nationwide on a continuous application basis.

CSP encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:

  • Undertaking additional conservation activities; and
  • Improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.

Through CSP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest lands, agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe, and other private agricultural land (including cropped woodland, marshes, and agricultural land used for the production of livestock) on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed. Participation in the program is voluntary.

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee and local work groups, will focus program impacts on natural resources that are of specific concern for a State, or the specific geographic areas within a State. Applications will be evaluated relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns to facilitate a competitive ranking process among applicants within a State who face similar resource challenges.

Eligibility

Individuals, entities, and Indian Tribes operating agricultural or private non-industrial private forest land may be eligible for the program. To be eligible, the applicant must be identified as the operator in the Farm Service Agency (FSA) records system.

Eligible lands include privately owned cropland, grazing land, nonindustrial private forest land, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. The lands must be under control of the applicant for the duration of the CSP contract, which is five years. The entire agricultural operation must be enrolled and must include all agricultural land that will be under the applicant's control for the term of the proposed contract that is operated substantially separate from other operations. 

Areas within the operation that are not in agricultural production or that are developed, such as farm headquarters, ranch sites, barnyards, feedlots, manure storage facilities, machinery storage areas, and material handling facilities are not eligible for a program payment. Also not eligible are public lands and private lands currently enrolled in CSP, Conservation Security Program, Grassland Reserve Program, and the Wetlands Reserve Program.

Applicants must address at least one resource concern at the time of application, and address at least one additional priority resource concern during the contract period.

Wyoming's Priority Resource Concerns

  • Animals
  • Plants
  • Soil Quality
  • Water Quality
  • Water Quantity
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Application Process

Applications are accepted on a continuing basis with periodic cutoff dates announced during the year. The cut-off date for FY2014 is Jan. 17, 2014.

  1. Complete a Self-Screening Checklist (PDF, 129 KB).
  2. Work with the local USDA Service Center to verify program eligibility at your local USDA Service Center.
  3. Submit a program application form Conservation Program Application NRCS-CPA-1200 or contact your local NRCS for an application form. A map, aerial photograph or overlay that identifies the agricultural and/or forest operation and associated acreage amounts will also be required.

Once these steps are completed, NRCS will work with applicants to enter information about the operation in the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT is an online questionnaire that collects information on land uses, existing conservation, and additional conservation activities the applicant is willing to undertake in order to estimate the conservation performance level the applicant will achieve. Using the information entered, the CMT determines:

  1. Whether the applicant meets the land stewardship threshold necessary to participate in the program,
  2. The applicant’s ranking score, and
  3. The payments that the producer will receive if he or she ranks for funding. For the Fiscal Year 2009 signup, the agency will establish payment rates after the conclusion of the first ranking period, using enrollment information to set uniform, national payment rates per land use. After payment rates are established, applicants will decide whether to move forward with the contract.

Wyoming's 2014 Ranking Areas

Applications will be evaluated and ranked for funding relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns in a ranking pool specific to the geographic area and land use. The CSP sign-up is available statewide. Wyoming has been divided into five CSP ranking areas as shown on the map below.

Wyoming map showing 2009 CSP Ranking Regions

Northwest Region: Park, Big Horn, Hot Springs, Fremont, and Washakie counties
Southwest Region: Teton, Sublette, Lincoln, Uinta, and Sweetwater counties
Northeast Region: Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell, Crook, and Weston counties
Central Region: Natrona, Converse, Carbon, and Albany counties
Southeast Region: Niobrara, Platte, Goshen, and Laramie counties

In addition, the program 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. Beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged producers will have a separate statewide funding pool. For additional information, visit the Socially Disadvantaged, Beginning, and Limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers website.

Program Payments

The Conservation Stewardship Program offers participants two possible types of payments:

  1. Annual payment for installing and adopting additional conservation activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities. Conservation activities are conservation systems, practices, or management measures needed to address a resource concern or improve environmental quality through the treatment of natural resources, and includes structural, vegetative, and management activities, as determined by NRCS. 

A list of conservation enhancement and practices for the Conservation Stewardship Program, including eligible land uses and activity criteria, is available on the National Conservation Stewardship Program Website.

  1. Supplemental payment for the adoption of resource conserving crop rotations. Click here to view the Wyoming Resource Conserving Crop Rotations Factsheet (PDF, 145 KB).

Records

CSP participants must have records of farming and ranching activities. These records will be used during NRCS field visits to verify accuracy of application information before contracts are approved.  Click here for a sample Records Compilation Workbook (PDF, 422 KB) that applicants may use to document their farming and ranching activities.

Contact:
Vacant, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 307-233-6757
Mary Schrader, Resource Conservationist/Farm Bill, 307-233-6762