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Conservation Stewardship Program

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Application cut-off period for the FY14 CSP sign-up of January 17 has been extended to February 7.


On this page:

Program Description
Eligibility
Application Process
Conservation Activities
    - Enhancement Activities. Click here to go directly to the Enhancement Activity job sheets.
    - Full Listing of Enhancements and Practices
    - Conservation Practices
The Organic Crosswalk
Program Payments
Additional Information
Archives
Contacts

 

Program Description

The Conservation Stewardship Program encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land. The program is available nationwide on a continuous application basis. The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) replaces the Conservation Security Program with the new Conservation Stewardship Program for fiscal years 2009 through 2017.

The document below requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

CSP Agricultural Operation Fact Sheet (PDF, 986 KB)

The Conservation Stewardship Program encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:

  • Undertaking additional conservation activities; and
  • Improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.

Through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CStP), 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.

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 for a State, or the specific geographic areas within a State. Applications will be evaluated relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns to facilitate a competitive ranking process among applicants within a State who face similar resource challenges.
 

Eligibility

Individuals, entities, and Indian Tribes operating agricultural or private non-industrial private forest land may be eligible for the program. The operator must be in the Farm Services Agency (FSA) farm records management system for the agricultural operation being offered for the the program. Potential applicants who are not in the FSA farm records management system must establish records with FSA prior to submitting an application.

The CSP contract must include all eligible and ineligible lands on an applicant agricultural operation (PDF, 982 KB), that the applicant has effective control for the life of the CSP contract, which is 5 years.

In addition, the program provides opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged producers. Nationally, the program aims to enroll at least five percent of total program acres operated by beginning farmers and ranchers and another five percent operated by socially disadvantaged producers. Within each specified geographic area and land use, beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged producers will have a separate funding pool.
 

Application Process

The Conservation Stewardship Program is offered as a continuous signup, and applications are accepted year-round with periodic ranking announced during the year.   The next application ranking period for the FY14 Conservation Stewardship Program is January 17.

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 the operation in the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT is an online questionnaire that collects information on land uses, existing conservation, and additional conservation activities the applicant is willing to undertake in order to estimate the conservation performance level the applicant will achieve. Using the information entered, the CMT determines:

  1. Whether the applicant meets the land stewardship threshold necessary to participate in the program,
  2. The additional conservation performance by the conservation activities the applicant elects to install
  3. The applicant's ranking score, and
  4. The payments that the producer will receive if he or she ranks for funding. Click here for National payment rates -- Coming Soon.

Conservation Measurement Tools Questionnaires

The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader

Applications will be evaluated and ranked for funding relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns in a ranking pool specific to the geographic area and land use. To view the Oregon ranking pools and priority resource concerns, visit the Conservation Stewardship Program 2014 Oregon Ranking Pools page -- Coming Soon
 

Conservation Activities

Conservation activities are conservation systems, practices, or management actions that are needed to address a resource concern or improve environmental quality through the treatment of natural resources, and includes structural, vegetative, and management activities. The Conservation Security Program offers both conservation enhancement activities and practices.

Enhancements are conservation activities 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.

Conservation practices are management or vegetative practices for the explicit purpose of encouraging producers to meet additional stewardship thresholds.

Enhancements and Practices: To download a complete listing of conservation enhancement and practices offered for the Conservation Stewardship Program, which including eligible land uses and activity criteria, click on this link:  Conservation Stewardship Program Activity List for Participants (PDF, 115 KB) -- Coming Soon
Enhancement Activity Job Sheets: To access detailed information on individual enhancement activities for the Conservation Stewardship Program, click on this link: Enhancement Activity Job Sheets
 

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.

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The Organic Crosswalk (PDF, 45KB)
 

Program Payments

The Conservation Stewardship Program offers participants two possible types of payments:

  1. Annual payment for installing and adopting additional conservation activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities. Conservation activities are conservation systems, practices, or management measures needed to address a resource concern or improve environmental quality through the treatment of natural resources, and includes structural, vegetative, and management activities, as determined by NRCS
  2. Supplemental payment for the adoption of Resource-Conserving Crop Rotations.

For more information on payments and benefits, please view the following fact sheet: CSP Payments and Benefits (PDF, 1MB)
 

Additional Information

NRCS National Conservation Stewardship Program Information:  Visit the National NRCS Web site for more information about the Conservation Stewardship Program across the Nation.
 

Archives

CSP FY 2013 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2012 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2011 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2010 Application Information for Oregon (Second Signup)
CSP FY-2010 Application Information for Oregon (First Signup)
CSP FY-2009 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2008 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2006 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2005 Application Information for Oregon
CSP FY-2004 Application Information for Oregon

 

Contact

Program Contact
Todd Peplin 1201NE Lloyd Blvd Portland Oregon 97232 503-414-3292

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