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A farmstead sits next to a soybean crop outside of Ottosen, Iowa, Sept. 17, 2017. USDA Photo by Preston Keres

West Virginia Conservation Stewardship Program


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

Your Stewardship Goals. Our Assistance.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is the largest conservation program in the United States. Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land. Crop producers, ranchers, dairy farmers, forest landowners, poultry producers, organic farmers, and specialty crop farmers all participate in the program. It is delivering real results on the ground and for the nations natural resources.

CSP participants voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operations - providing food, fiber, and energy. Participants enroll their entire ag operation in the program under a 5-year contract, with the option to renew for another 5 years. NRCS helps producers maintain or improve the existing conservation activities on their operations and adopt new ones. The program offers greater incentives for producers who want to kick their conservation up a notch with bundles of enhancements with higher payment rates.


CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced. Applicants may include individuals, legal entities, and joint ventures operating production agricultural land or non-industrial private forest land (NIPF).

To participate in CSP, you must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements and have current farm records with USDA Farm Service Agency. You must have effective control of the land for the term of the proposed contract (5 years), be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the operation and share in the risks associated with production.

All CSP applicants must meet—

  1. Applicant Eligibility
    • Be the operator, owner, or other tenant of an agricultural operation in the FSA farm records management system.
    • Share in the risk of producing a crop; share in the crop available for marketing from the farm; and participate in the daily management, administration, and performance of the operation for the land included in the contract; and
    • Have effective control of the land
  2. Land Eligibility
    • Agricultural Operation
    • Eligible Land—The following land may be part of the agricultural or NIPF operation, and eligible for enrollment in the program:
      1. Private agricultural land (crop, pasture)
      2. Agricultural Indian lands (crop, pasture)
      3. NIPF
      4. Associated agricultural land (AAL)
      5. Farmstead
      6. Public land associated with the land uses described above, if under effective control of the participant, and if a working component of the producer’s agricultural or NIPF operation.
  3. Stewardship Threshold Eligibility
    • For CSP classic applications, an applicant’s documented conservation activities must meet or exceed the stewardship threshold as follows:
      1. At least two resource concern categories at the time of contract offer on all land uses included in the operation.
      2. At least one additional resource concern category by the end of the conservation stewardship contract on at least one land use.

Fiscal Year 2023 CSP

WV-NRCS establishes application ranking batching date which is a date a complete application must be filed to be considered for the respective funding cycle. Please note, NRCS accepts applications on a year-round basis and all applications received after the ranking batch date are automatically deferred to the next funding cycle. NRCS selects the highest ranked applications for funding based on ranking score order. If your application is preapproved for funding, NRCS will contact you to confirm your interest in receiving financial assistance in CSP. 

Carrie Crislip, Conservation Stewardship Program Manager     or

CSP Initiative

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.