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Larry Huntington (left), United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency (FSA), Farm Loan Manager and Justin Maxey (right), a rancher in Nowata, Oklahoma survey cattle Maxey purchased with, both a USDA, FSA Beginning Farmer and a Rancher Loan and an Ownership Loan.  Maxey was able to double his herd with a second loan with money available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). " I would not have been able to buy these new cows and needed supplies without this lo

NRCS Oklahoma Announces First FY2024 Application Batching Date for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Stillwater, Ok., September 27, 2023 – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing Friday, November 3, 2023, as the first batching date for applications submitted for Fiscal Year 2024 funding through either the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) or Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

“NRCS-Oklahoma is wasting no time in FY24 connecting landowners with three of our most popular conservation programs,” said State Conservationist Jeanne Hamilton. “CSP, ACEP and EQIP are three cornerstone programs for NRCS, and it’s important that we connect landowners with financial and technical assistance.”

NRCS uses batching dates for CSP, ACEP and EQIP as a tool to review, approve and fund applications.  NRCS accepts applications on a continuous basis, and applications received after a batching date will automatically be considered during future funding cycles. This and future batching dates will include conventional funding and /or funding through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to include variances of the programs referenced above.  An example being applications for EQIP, EQIP IRA, or EQIP Conservation Incentive Contracts (CIC). 

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

CSP is the nation’s largest conservation program in terms of participating land and is designed to help agricultural producers have more robust conservation activities and to help producers take their conservation activities to the next level.

Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat – all while maintaining active agricultural or forest production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of new technologies and new management techniques such as irrigation monitoring, precision agriculture applications, improved grazing systems, on-site carbon storage and planting for high carbon sequestration rate, and new soil amendments to improve water quality.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

ACEP helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps American Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.  Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

EQIP is NRCS’ flagship conservation program that helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners integrate conservation into working lands.

EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to address natural resource concerns and to deliver environmental benefits, such as improved water and air quality, conserve ground and surface water, reduced soil erosion and sedimentation, improved soil health and plant condition, and improved or created wildlife habitat.

Oklahoma NRCS will be utilizing ACT NOW for the High Tunnel System ranking pool in FY24. ACT NOW allows NRCS to immediately approve and obligate a ranked application in a designated ranking pool when an eligible application meets or exceeds a State determined minimum ranking score without waiting until the NRCS field office ranks all applications in the ranking pool. Eligible High Tunnel applications received through Friday, November 3, 2023, will be considered.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted at local USDA offices. NRCS will conduct an assessment and rank all eligible applications received by the batching date. NRCS will fund applications in ranking order as funding allows.

More information

For more information about NRCS programs and assistance, visit the or contact the NRCS Field Office serving your county. NRCS employees in county offices can provide more information about how to apply for benefits offered by NRCS.

For more information about NRCS programs and assistance, visit or contact Oklahoma Programs at (405)742-1215.