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Conservation Stewardship Program

Conservation Stewardship Program

Highlights and Announcements

Application “batching” deadlines for this fiscal year’s Conservation Stewardship Program have been set.

New applications received by February 27, 2015 will eligible for consideration in this year’s sign-up.  Renewal applications received by March 31, 2015 will eligible for consideration in this year’s sign-up. Note: Per rules established in the Farm Bill, “renewals” are only available to current CSP contract holders whose contracts are set to expire; this year, renewals are available to FY 2011 CSP contract holders.

Applications received after the batching dates outline above may be considered in future ranking periods, but will not be eligible for consideration in the current period. Incomplete applications may be considered within this evaluation period if deficiencies are addressed within the timeframes established by Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The application process includes:

  1. An application for assistance (NRCS-CPA-1200),
  2. A map of the participant’s agricultural operation showing eligible and ineligible lands under the participants control, and
  3. Current records at the Farm Services Agency.
  4. Renewal applications also require a NRCS-CCC-1248

Please contact your local NRCS field office for additional information and/or copies of the required application materials.


The Conservation Stewardship Program (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 the authority for CSP to the NRCS Chief.

CSP Self-Screening Checklist

The documents below all require Adobe Acrobat.

Conservation Activity List: 

State Specific Enhancement Requirements

Most details on CSP enhancements have been set nationally (accessible via the links under Enhancement Activity Job Sheets above). However, states have established a variety of supplemental information, such a s species lists and target dates, to supplement the national information. 

Enhancements Job Sheets

An "Enhancement" is a conservation activity used to treat natural resources and greatly improve conservation performance.

Enhancements are installed at a level of management intensity which exceeds the sustainable level for a given resource concern.

Enhancements directly related to a practice standard are applied in a manner that exceeds the minimum treatment requirements of the standard.

A "Bundle" is a group of specific enhancements which when installed as a group, addresses resource concerns synergetically.

The following links lead to Enhancement Activity Job Sheets.  Each Job Sheet is a complete description of the activities summarized the Conservation Program Activity List:

NM Supplemental Criteria

  • Air Quality

  • Animal

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM05 - Extending Riparian Forest Buffers for Water Quality Protection and Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 193 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM07 - Extend Existing Field Borders for Water Quality Protection and Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 175 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM09 - Grazing Management to Improve Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 122 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM10 - Harvest Hay in a Manner that Allows Wildlife to Flush and Escape (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 1,052 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM18 - Retrofit Watering Facility for Wildlife Escape (New Mexico Version)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM26 - Managing Calving to Coincide with forage Availability (New Mexico Version - Cattle Timeline) (PDF; 159 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM26 - Managing Calving to Coincide with forage Availability (New Mexico Version - Sheep Timeline)  (PDF; 152 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM27 - Wildlife Friendly Fencing (New Mexico Version)  (PDF; 176 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM32 - Extend Existing Filter Strip or Riparian Herbaceous Cover for Water Quality Protection and Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 200 KB)

  • Animal Enhancement - ANM33 - Riparian Buffer Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Habitat (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 258 KB)

  • Energy

  • Plant

  • Plant Enhancement - PLT15 - Pollinator and/or Beneficial Insects (New Mexico Version) (PDF; 310 KB)

  • Plant Enhancement - PLT18 - Increasing on Farm Food Production (New Mexico Version) (PDF); 174 KB)

  • Soil Erosion

  • Soil Quality

  • Water Quality

  • Water Quantity

  • Special Projects

  • Bundles

  • New Mexico Specific Information

    Ranking Pools

    CSP applicants in NM will compete in one of two "Ranking Pools":  North and South

    Ranking pool boundaries are shown in the map below:

    Map of New Mexico NRCS Area and Teams















    8 1/2 X 11 Print (PDF; 3797 KB)

    Ranking Pool Boundaries

    North and South – These boundaries follow the current NRCS Service Center Boundaries that make up the respective NRCS-NM Areas.

    Sub Pools

    Within each ranking pool there are two major and two minor sub-pools. NRCS can help applicants understand the definitions of each, but the final decision as to which "sub-pool" an applicant wants to be considered in rests with the applicant:


    • Agricultural Lands (includes range, crop and pasture lands)
      Conventional Applications

    • Non-Industrial Private Forest


    • Socially Disadvantaged
      Beginning Farmer and Ranchers

    Priority Ranking Concerns

    Applicants receive both ranking and performance payment points based on factors identified in the rule, including the number of "Priority Resource Concerns" addressed at the time of application, and during the life of the contract. Priority Resource Concerns for each land use (agricultural lands and forest lands) for each major ranking pool are as follows: 

    North and South Ranking Pool Priority Resource Concerns:

    • Agricultural Lands: Animals, Energy, Plants, Soil Quality, and Water Quantity

    • Non-Industrial Private Forest Land: Air Quality, Animals, Energy, Plants, and Water Quality

    Resource Conserving Crops

    As described in national programmatic materials, some producers will qualify for both annual and supplemental payments. In order to quality for supplemental payments, a farmer must implement a (new) resource conserving crop rotation. National criteria on resource conserving crop rotations are available on the national web site. In New Mexico, the following specific crops have been identified as resource conserving crops: Alfalfa; Barley (Fall); Birdsfoot Trefoil; Buckwheat; Clover; Red; Clover; Strawberry; Clover, White; Cowpeas; Fescue; Tall; Hairy Vetch; Medics; Oats; Orchard grass; Peas; Winter Rye (cereal); Ryegrass; Smooth Brome; Sorghum (seed); Sorghum-sudan grass; Sun Hemp; Sweet Clover; Timothy; Triticale; Winter; Wheat; and Wheatgrass, Tall.

    Specific requirements for resource conserving crop rotations incorporate both national guidance on rotations, and state specific lists of resource conserving crops.

    The Organic Crosswalk

    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.

    CSP Pilot – Landscape Conservation Initiative FY 2015

    Ogallala Aquifer Initiative (OAI) - The CSP OAI Pilot encourages agricultural producers to address priority resource concerns, such as water quantity issues in the OAI, in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.  Reducing aquifer water use, improving water quality and enhancing the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, South Dakota and Wyoming.

    CSP Pilot – Landscape Conservation Initiative FY 2015 Lesser Prairie-chicken Initiative (LPCI)

    The CSP LPCI Pilot encourages agricultural producers to address priority resource concerns, such as lesser prairie-chicken (LEPC) habitat, in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.   Expanding Lesser prairie-chicken habitat and benefiting the long-term sustainability of producers’ agricultural operations in high priority habitat areas in the current range in the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

    Program Contact

    For more specific application information please contact your local district conservationist. Programmatic details are available from Seth Fiedler, CSP Coordinator.