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Cover crops protect this Delaware County crop field from soil erosion.

Conservation Stewardship Program - Iowa


No one knows more about your land than you do, and no one knows more about conservation than we do. Together we can develop a plan tailored to your land and your goals to help you increase productivity and protect the value of your land.

Who is Eligible?

Eligible lands include private agricultural lands, agricultural Indian lands, nonindustrial private forest land, farmstead, associated agricultural lands and public land that is under the control of the applicant and part of their operation. There is no minimum acreage requirement. CSP enrolls your entire operation into the program, not just one specific field or tract. All land must be in compliance with USDA highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions to
be eligible for CSP.

What types of payments are offered through CSP?

There are three types of payments available through CSP.

  1. Annual contract payments which are based on two components: Payments to maintain the existing level of conservation based on the land uses included in the contract. Payments to implement additional conservation practices and activities.
  2. Supplemental payments for producers willing to implement a resource conserving crop rotation, improve an existing resource conserving crop rotation, or implement advanced grazing management.
  3. Minimum contract payments for most contracts.

How It Works

CSP helps you build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation. Whether you are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, or develop wildlife habitat, we can custom design a CSP plan to help you meet those goals. We can help you schedule timely planting of cover crops, develop a grazing plan that will improve your forage base, implement no-till to reduce erosion or manage forested areas in a way that benefits wildlife habitat. If you are already taking steps to improve the condition of the land, chances are CSP can help you find new ways to meet your goals.


CSP is for working lands. It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled in CSP. Thousands of people voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation.

CSP participants are seeing real results. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased crop yields
  • Decreased inputs
  • Wildlife habitat population improvements
  • Increased resilience to weather extremes

2024 CSP Sign-Up

NRCS accepts applications for CSP on a continuous basis. We announce signup cutoff deadlines as funds become available. For Fiscal Year 2024, the first application cutoff date for new CSP contracts was Nov. 3, 2023. The next application cutoff for new CSP applications was April 12, 2024. NRCS field offices will continue to accept CSP applications.

CSP Application Materials

Iowa FY2024 CSP Classic Ranking Pools

  • FY24 Iowa Ag Land 
  • FY24 Iowa Non-industrial Private Forestland
  • FY24 IRA Ag Land
  • FY24 IRA Non-industrial Private Forestland

Iowa FY2024 CSP Priority Resource Concern Categories - Ag Land

  • Wind and Water Erosion
  • Concentrated erosion
  • Field Sediment, Nutrient and Pathogen Loss
  • Livestock Production Limitation
  • Terrestrial Habitat
  • Soil Quality Limitations
  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Pest Pressure

Iowa FY2024 CSP Priority Resource Concern Categories - NIPF

  • Concentrated Erosion
  • Soil Quality Limitations
  • Pest Pressure
  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Terrestrial Habitat
  • Fire Management
  • Livestock Production Limitation
  • Aquatic Habitat

Organic Crosswalk

The 2018 Farm Bill recognizes 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.

Provides an explanation of how CSP enhancements can be used to assist organic producers:

Is CSP Right For You?

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Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.