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News Release

USDA Announces Sign-Up Period for Conservation Stewardship Program


NOTE:  The CSP application deadline has been extended to January 27, 2012.

Bangor, Maine - December 12, 2011 - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that the sign-up period cut-off date for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is January 13, 2012. Applications for CSP are accepted on a continuous basis; however, producers interested in CSP should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline so that their applications can be considered during the first ranking period of 2012.

CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by: undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities. Participants will receive an annual land use payment for operation-level environmental benefits they produce. CSP provides many conservation benefits including improvement of water and soil quality, wildlife habitat enhancements and adoption of conservation activities that address the effects of climate change. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.

A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help potential applicants determine if CSP is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations and potential payments. It is available from local NRCS offices and on the web

As part of the CSP application process, applicants will work with NRCS field personnel to complete the resource inventory using a Conservation Measurement Tool. This tool determines the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities. The applicant's conservation performance will be used to determine eligibility, ranking and payments.

Producers interested in the CSP Program should visit their local USDA Service Center, listed online at or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department. For additional program information visit the Maine NRCS website at


National Conservation Stewardship Program Website