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Conservation Stewardship Program

Conservation Stewardship Program in PIA


The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps you build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation. 


Whether you are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop resiliency or develop wildlife habitat, a Conservation Stewardship Plan (CSP) can help identify natural resource problems in your operation and provide technical and financial assistance to solve those problems. NRCS works one-on-one with producers to develop a custom conservation plan that outlines and enhances existing efforts, using new conservation practices or activities, based on management objectives for your operation. 

How It Works

Producers implement practices and activities in their conservation plan that lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better wildlife habitat, all while improving their agricultural operations. For example, if you have been planting a cover crop, you may decide to try an enhancement for a multi-species cover crop or implement a deep-rooted cover crop to break up soil compaction and further improve the health of your soil.

CSP offers annual payments for implementing these additional practices on your land and maintaining existing conservation efforts. Want to take it a step further? CSP also offers bundles where you can select a suite of enhancements and receive a higher payment rate.

How to get Started?

The first step is to contact your local NRCS office or the Pacific Islands Area CSP Program Manager to discuss your goals and eligibility for CSP and learn the appropriate next steps.

An NRCS conservation planner will schedule a visit to your property. They will walk the land with you to discuss your goals and review any resource concerns. Following the site visit, the conservation planner will develop a conservation plan that includes a variety of conservation practices or activities to address the resource concerns and management goals discussed.

NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs on a continuous basis; however, customers should apply by state-specific ranking dates to be considered for the current funding cycle. 

Act Now

NRCS has developed a faster process to approve producer applications for its conservation programs. Using its “Act Now” authority, NRCS can now pre-approve applications when they meet or exceed a pre-determined minimum ranking score. Applications are ranked according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide, and the needs of applicants.

Applications for eligible practices that meet or exceed pre-determined minimum ranking thresholds in the Pacific Islands Area will be considered for priority funding when applying to CSP. No special application is required to be eligible for funding through the Act Now process. 

This means funding decisions can be made without having to wait for all applications to be reviewed and ranked. This can potentially allow farmers to start conservation projects earlier instead of waiting long periods to know if a project will be funded.

Learn more about Act Now in PIA.

Pacific Islands Area Program Deadlines & Ranking Dates

Round 1
Signup Deadline: November 3, 2023
Ranking: February 14, 2024
Funding Selections: February 29, 2024
Obligation: June 1, 2024

Round 2
Signup Deadline: March 8, 2024
Ranking: June 13, 2024
Funding Selections: June 17, 2024
Obligation: September 5, 2024

Round 3
Signup Deadline: May 1, 2024
Ranking: TBD (based on available funding)
Funding Selections: TBD (based on available funding)
Obligation: TBD (based on available funding)

To learn more about CSP, contact your local NRCS office or the Pacific Islands Area CSP Program Manager. 

Ranking Data

Pacific Islands Area CSP Program Contact

Zephyr Usinger
State CSP/ACEP Program Manager
Lihue, Hawaii
Phone: 808-861-0695

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.