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.
2016 CSP Signup
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 Dec.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.
All application requirements must be met by March 31, 2016 to be eligible for enrollment in this sign-up period.
Conservation Stewardship Program Application Materials
Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) Scoring Process
NRCS will use the CMT to evaluate CSP applications through a point-based system to estimate environmental benefits. The CMT evaluates existing and proposed new activities to calculate conservation performance points which will be used for ranking and payment purposes.
Conservation performance points are programmed in the CMT, along with all controls, filters, and calculations. A scientific validation of CMT is underway and future modifications to these points may be needed.
The 2008 Farm Bill recognized the growing interest and support of organic agriculture across the country and required the development of a transparent means by which producers may initiate organic certification while participating in a CSP contract. "The Conservation Stewardship Program's Contribution to Organic Transitioning - The Organic Crosswalk", provides an explanation of how CSP enhancements can be used to assist producers in meeting individual National Organic Program (NOP) rules while going through the transitioning period.
Conservation Stewardship Program's Contribution to Organic Transitioning - The Organic Crosswalk (PDF)
Iowa Statewide Priority Resource Concerns
- Soil Quality
- Soil Erosion
- Water Quality
- Animals (Includes Livestock and Wildlife)
Iowa Resource Conserving Crop Rotations
Resource-conserving crop means a crop that is one of the following:
- A perennial grass;
- A legume grown for use as forage, seed for planting, or green manure;
- A legume-grass mixture;
- A small grain grown in combination with a grass or legume green manure crop whether inter-seeded or planted in rotation.
Dave Brommel, 515-284-4353
For further information and assistance, contact your local NRCS Service Center