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CSP - Learn More

How Does CSP Work?

Deb Clark - Faces of CSPMost agriculture producers that participate in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) have already implemented conservation practices on their land.CSP offers additional opportunities to expand on existing conservation efforts by offering conservation practices, enhancements, bundles, and other conservation activities. For example, if you have been planting a cover crop, you may decide to try an enhancement for multi-species cover crop or implement a deep-rooted cover crop to break up soil compaction.

If you decide to enroll in CSP, the local NRCS conservation planner will have a one-on-one consultation with you to evaluate your current management system and the natural resources on your land. Then the NRCS conservation planner will present a variety of CSP conservation activities for you to consider implementing on your land in order for you to address additional natural resource concerns. The variety of CSP conservation activities offered give you a lot of freedom to select enhancements, practices, or bundles that help you meet your management goals. These improvements help bring out your land’s best potential.

Once you choose the conservation activities that best fit your operation, CSP offers annual payments for installing these activities on your land and operating and maintaining your current conservation efforts.


CSP Contracts

Dick Flemming - Faces of CSPThe program represents a genuine commitment to conservation – CSP contracts are for five years, with the opportunity to compete for a contract renewal if you successfully fulfill the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. An NRCS conservation planner will work closely with you throughout the entire contract process.

Contract payments are based on two components:

  1. Payments to maintain the existing level of conservation based on the land uses included in the contract and NRCS assessment of existing stewardship at the time of enrollment, and
  2. Payments to implement additional conservation activities.

NRCS may provide a minimum annual payment of $1,500 in any year the Chief determines the total contract payment amount is less than a rate determined equitable based upon the effort required by a participant to meet contract requirements.

CSP Renewals

Existing CSP participants may be eligible to renew their contract for an additional 5-year term during the fifth year of their initial contract.  Participants who have met the terms of their initial contract and who agree to implement more conservation activities will now be ranked and compete for a renewal contract.  To meet the renewal stewardship threshold, the participant must agree to meet or exceed two additional priority resource concerns or agree to adopt or improve conservation activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on two existing priority resource concerns.


Investment in the Future

Cornelius Joe - Faces of CSPFrom planning to enrollment to implementation, many CSP participants feel the process of working with their NRCS conservation planner helps build an awareness about the resources on their land and helps them look at their land in a more comprehensive and engaging manner. Most participants find that the assessment that they do in CSP gives them valuable information to refine their operation and make management adjustments that have a positive outcome on their land and their bottom line.



Sustainable Production

Faces of CSP DeirdreCSP is for working lands. Through CSP, we can help you build
your business while implementing conservation activities that help ensure the sustainability of your entire operation. Good land stewardship not only conserves the natural resources on your farm, ranch, or forest — it also provides multiple benefits to local communities, including better water and air quality, increased wildlife habitat, and sustainably grown food and fiber.



Management Makes a Difference

Faces of CSP MiguelEvery property has its own unique characteristics with opportunities to improve natural resources and address any areas of concern. Human activities contribute to the condition of natural resources on the land -- they can help improve them or contribute to their decline, which can result in what we refer to as a “resource concern.” With CSP, our goal is to help you recognize the resources on your land and develop a conservation plan to improve them. Examples of CSP management activities that can improve resource concerns are:


  • Grazing management to improve wildlife habitat
  • Extending filter strips to reduce excess sediment, nutrients and chemicals in surface water
  • Planting cover crops to improve soil health
  • Planting range grasses to reduce erosion and develop wildlife habitat