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Program Overview

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The Act of 2014 authorizes the continued use of the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) through fiscal year 2018. The CSP replaces the Conservation Security Program which was first enacted in the 2002 Farm Bill.

The CSP helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns.

The CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forestland in all 50 States and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands areas. The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee and local work groups, will focus program impacts on natural resources that are of specific concern(s) for a State, or the specific geographic areas within a State. Applications will be evaluated relative to other applications addressing priority resource concerns and willingness to take on additional conservation efforts to improve the natural resource.

The CSP provides two types of payments through five-year contracts: annual payments for installing new conservation activities and maintaining existing practices; and supplemental payments for adopting a resource-conserving crop rotation. Producers may be able to renew a contract if they have successfully fulfilled the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. Payments are made soon as practical after October 1st of each fiscal year for contract activities installed and maintained in the previous year.