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, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Caribbean and Pacific Island areas. 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.
How to Apply
Visit your local USDA Service Center visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted.
Download NRCS conservation program application (PDF, 267KB)
CSP Fact Sheet (PDF, 618KB)
To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted
Summary of changes to CSP in the Interim Final Rule
To see more detailed information about CSP, visit the CSP program homepage or the 2015 Enhancement Activity Job Sheets page.
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