Conservation Stewardship Program
Operators of agricultural land and non-industrial private forest land now have the opportunity to sign up for the new CSP at their local NRCS field office. Sign up is offered on a continuous basis. Contact your local NRCS field office to sign up today.
The purpose of the new CSP is to encourage producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional activities and improving, maintaining and managing existing conservation activities.
Where to Begin
In the new CSP, all applicants will need to consider all of the land that they operate, as indicated in the Farm Service Agency records, within their application. All land that the applicant has control of for the term of the contract (five years) must already meet one resource concern in order to be considered eligible for the program.
If you are interested in this program you should submit your completed and signed application to your local NRCS office and work with the Farm Service Agency to ensure that your farm records are up-to-date.
If you have both agricultural land and nonindustrial private forestland, you will need to submit two separate applications for each land use if you wish to enroll both your agricultural land and your forestland in CSP. According to program requirements, since each land use does not compete against each other in the program's ranking criteria, two applications are needed.
After you have submitted your full application package to NRCS, a local representative will be contacting you to come into the office and go through the online ranking, also referred to as the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). This ranking tool will take into account all of the conservation activities that you are already performing on your operation and will provide you with a list of additional activities that you can consider installing through CSP. Those applications with the highest ranking points will be first in line to receive a contract. Applications should be preselected for a contract in late winter or early spring.
If your application is preselected for a contract, you will need to meet with an NRCS representative on your farm to verify that the answers you provided in the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) were accurate. Final contract approval decisions will be made in the spring.
Related Web Pages
National CSP Website
CSP Application Package
The following documents require Acrobat Reader.
CSP Producer Self Screening, (PDF 115 KB)
CSP Fact Sheet, (PDF 98 KB)
CSP Application and contract appendix (NRCS-CPA-1200), (PDF 41KB)
CSP Activity List, Provides a list of activities that producers can choose to adopt through their CSP contract. It will be helpful to review this before your Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) appointment and select those activities that you may want to discuss adopting at the appointment.
The Conservation Stewardship Program requires applicants to establish records with the Farm Service Agency if they do not have these records established already. Where applicants already have records established with the Farm Service Agency, they will need to ensure that these records are updated.
Farm Service Agency records that need to be established or updated prior to application: The following documents require Acrobat Reader.
Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Statement and Consent to Disclosure of Tax Information, (PDF 151 KB). This form should be completed for 2013
Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification, (PDF 157 KB)
Members Information, (PDF 235 KB). For entities
CSP State Geographic Areas
With advise from State Technical Committee Members, States are required to select geographic areas within their states where applications within those areas would take priority over other applications that are not within the identified geographic area. The committee has recommended that the entire State of Vermont be its own geographic area for this enrollment cycle.
CSP State Priority Resource Concerns
With advise from State Technical Committee Members, each State has selected a list of priority resource concerns that applicants will either need to agree to address by the end of the contract period or have already addressed at the time of application.
Vermont Priority Resource Concerns for 2013 CSP for Both Agricultural Land and Non-Industrial Private Forestland:
Conservation Measurement Tool
As part of the CSP application process, you'll work with NRCS field staff to complete your resource inventory using a Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). The CMT determines the conservation performance for existing and additional conservation activities.
The documents below are copies of the resource inventory questions, grouped by land use. You can download and review the questions, and begin drafting responses to start the resource inventory process before you complete the CMT in your local NRCS office.
The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader.
CMT Cropland Baseline Data Questions (PDF; 51KB)
CMT Cropland Questions (PDF; 40KB)
CMT Ag General Questions (PDF; 16KB)
CMT Forestland Baseline Data Questions (PDF; 47KB)
CMT Forestland Questions (PDF; 29KB)
CMT Pastureland Baseline Data Questions (PDF; 44KB)
CMT Pastureland General Questions (PDF; 26KB)
CMT Water Questions (PDF; 19KB)
CSP Resource Conserving Crops
With advise from State Technical Committee Members, each State has created a list of resource conserving crops that applicants can incorporate into their cropland acres if they are eligible for, and elect to adopt the Resource Conserving Crop Rotation Enhancement.
Resource Conserving Crop Rotation Job Sheet
Vermont Resource Conserving Crops
1. Perennial grass (not exclusive):
- orchard grass
2. A legume grown for use as a forage, seed for planting, or green manure (not exclusive):
- red clover
- hairy vetch
- field peas
3. A legume-grass mixture (not exclusive):
- perennial grass and red clover
- perennial grass and alfalfa
- rye and hairy vetch
4. A small grain grown in combination with a grass or legume, whether interseeded or planted in rotation (not exclusive):
- oats and field peas crop followed by a perennial grass (see #1 above). The small grain residue shall not be harvested or grazed.
- rye and hairy vetch winter cover crop followed by alfalfa or other legume (see #2 above). The cover crop shall not be harvested or grazed
- oats and field peas followed by alfalfa and a perennial grass. The small grain residue shall not be harvested or grazed.
- oats or triticale or rye or wheat or barley or millet in rotation with a perennial grass. The small grain shall not be harvested or grazed.
- oats or triticale or rye or wheat or barley or millet in rotation with alfalfa or other legume. The small grain residue shall not be harvested or grazed.
- oats or triticale or rye or wheat or barley or millet in rotation with alfalfa or other legume and perennial grass. The small grain residue shall not be harvested or grazed.
CSP Rules, Notices and Supporting Documents
The following documents require Acrobat Reader.
The CSP Final Rule
Heather Wetzstein, Vermont CSP Coordinator
Phone: 802-951-6796 ext. 223