Conservation Stewardship Program
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.
FY 2015 Ranking Period One Program Documents
Conservation Program Application NRCS-CPA-1200 (PDF, 104KB)
2015 Ranking Period One Enhancement Activity Job Sheets
"Enhancement" means a type of conservation activity used to treat natural resources and improve conservation performance. Enhancements are installed at a level of management intensity that exceeds the sustainable level for a given resource concern, and those directly related to a practice standard are applied in a manner that exceeds the minimum treatment requirements of the standard.
2015 Job Sheet homepage | Air Quality | Animal | Bundles | Energy | Plant | Soil Erosion | Soil Quality | Water Quality | Water Quantity | Supplemental Payment Activities
Download and look over the Conservation Program Activity List to identify new activities you may be interested in to install or adopt.
2015 Payment for Performance Payment Rates
The 2015 Payment for Performance payment rates are available as a PDF download (PDF, 245KB).
How to Apply
Visit your local USDA Service Center to get started.
CSP Fact Sheet (PDF, 618KB)
To learn how to Get Started with NRCS
Summary of changes to CSP in the Interim Final Rule
To see more detailed information about CSP, visit the national CSP program homepage or the 2015 Enhancement Activity Job Sheets page.