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Conservation Stewardship Program - Payment for Performance

CSP General Sign-up And Contract Renewal Deadline Has Passed

FY 2015 CSP materials have been archived, in preparation for the FY2016 ranking period.  The 2015 job sheets are still available.  FY2016 Ranking Period information will be available at a later date.

Program Description

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) presents a significant shift in how the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides conservation program payments. CSP participants will receive an annual land use payment for operation-level environmental benefits they produce. Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance: the higher the operational performance, the higher their payment.

CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:

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

CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land in all 50 States and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas. The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. The Secretary of Agriculture has delegated administrative authority for CSP to the NRCS Chief.

How CSP Works

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.  NRCS accepts applications for CSP at local service centers, Nationwide, on a continuous basis.

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 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.

The entire operation must be enrolled and must include all eligible land operated substantially separate that will be under the applicant's control for the term of the proposed contract.

CSP offers participants two possible types of payments:

  • Annual payment for installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities
  • Supplemental payment for the adoption of resource-conserving crop rotations

Eligible Lands

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.

  • Crop
  • Pasture
  • Range
  • Nonindustrial Private Forest
  • Agricultural Land Under the Jurisdiction of an Native American Tribe or Tribal Nation
  • 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.

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