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Conservation Stewardship Program Interim Final Rule with Request for Comments

The public comment period has been extended to January 20, 2015. The official notice is on https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/12/23/2014-29982/conservation-stewardship-program-csp-interim-rule; submit comments on the Regulations.gov website.

 

2015 Conservation Stewardship Program Signup Period -- February 27, 2015

General Program Information:

The Act of 2014 authorizes the continued use of the Conservation Stewardship Program though fiscal year 2018. The Conservation Stewardship Program replaces the Conservation Security Program which was first enacted in the 2002 Farm Bill. To view the differences in programs click on this link: Stewardship vs Security Comparison.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns.

The CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forestland 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 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(s) for a State, or the specific geographic areas within a State. Applications will be evaluated relative to other applications addressing priority resource concerns and willingness to take on additional conservation efforts to improve the natural resource.

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.

Eligibility:

Applicant: Individuals, entities, and Indian Tribes operating agricultural or private non-industrial private forest land. Prior to submitting an application the applicant must be the operator in the Farm Services Agency (FSA) farm records management system for the agricultural operation being offered for the program.

Land: The CSP contract must include all eligible and ineligible lands on an applicant agricultural operation (PDF, xx KB) -- Coming Soon, that the applicant has effective control for the life of the CSP contract, which is 5 years.

Applicants must meet the stewardship threshold for at least two priority resource concerns when they apply and agree to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least one additional priority resource concern by the end of the contract.

Application Process:

Interested land managers and growers can begin the application process by completing the following steps:

1.  Complete a Self-Screening Checklist (PDF, 118 KB).
2.  Verify program eligibility at your local USDA Service Center.
3.  Submit a program application form (PDF, 44 KB).
4.  Submit an operation map, aerial photograph or overlay that identifies their agricultural and/or forest operation and associated acreage amounts.

Once these steps are completed, NRCS will work with applicants to enter information about their agricultural operation in the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT).  The CMT is an online questionnaire that evaluates the applicant’s management and additional conservation activities in addressing all natural resources on their agricultural operation (click here to view CMT questions).  The CMT determines whether the applicant meets the land stewardship threshold necessary to participate in the program, ranking score, and payments that the producer will receive if he or she ranks for funding.

The Organic Crosswalk:

The Act of 2014 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.

The Organic Crosswalk (PDF, 45 KB)

Additional Information:

CSP National NRCS Website
CSP Agricultural Operation Fact Sheet (PDF, 986 KB)
Conservation Measurement Tool Inventory (CMT) Question and  Conservation Activities/Enhancement  Job Sheets
Payment Rates (COMING SOON)
Oregon Funding Pools (COMING SOON)
Self-Screening Check list
Application Form

Archives

CSP FY 2013 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY 2013 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2012 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2011 Application Information for Oregon

 

Contact

Program Contact
Todd M. Peplin todd.peplin@or.usda.gov
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd Portland Oregon 97232 503-414-3292

Local Contact:
Please contact the District Conservationist in the USDA Service Center serving your county.