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Conservation Stewardship Program

The application cutoff date for fiscal year 2019 CSP general applications is MAY 10, 2019. 

The application cutoff date for RCPP-CSP applications is JUNE 21,2019. 

The application deadline CSP-GCI (Grassland Conservation Initiative) will be specified in the letters mailed to eligible producers.

The application deadline for contract renewals is TBA. Contract participants with a 2015 Conservation Stewardship Program contract that will expire this year should receive a letter from their local NRCS office informing them of the opportunity to renew for another 5 years. The application materials must be returned to NRCS by the announced deadline in order to be considered for another 5 year contract. Instead of applying for a contract renewal, contract participants can choose to submit a new application that will be considered for funding with other eligible applications in 2020.

To apply, please contact any NRCS field office: NM Field Office Directory

Have you ever looked across your property and thought about the land management goals you would like to take to the next level? Maybe we can help.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner.  CSP helps producers build on their current conservation efforts and can assist producers improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, reduce production expenses and improve scenic and wildlife values of the land.

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

Information On This Page:

How Does CSP Work?

Most of the agriculture and forestry producers who are approved to participate in CSP have already been implementing conservation practices on their land. CSP takes those practices to a higher level with enhancements and bundles.  For example, if you have been practicing prescribed grazing to manage forage for livestock, CSP would give you options to enhance that practice with activities, such as, grazing management to improve plants for wildlife, or grazing management to reduce soil compaction, or grazing management to improve riparian function, to name a few.

If you decide to enroll in CSP, the local NRCS conservation planner will discuss with you the production practices of the operation and the natural resources on your land. Then the NRCS conservation planner will assist you to identify the activities needed to meet the stewardship thresholds and the alternatives that will help you meet your management goals.

CSP offers annual incentive payments for installing the activities that you have chosen and that best fit your operation. If you want to take it even a step further, CSP also offers bundles where you can select a suite of enhancements and receive a higher payment.

Once your operation has been evaluated, is found eligible for CSP, and you have chosen the conservation activities you will adopt, your application will be ranked to determine how well your current and future management system will address national, state, and local natural resource priorities.  Your application will be rated against other eligible applications that have similar resource challenges, with the highest scoring applications selected first.

Take a look at the CSP Producer Success Stories on the left side bar for examples of how producers across the US have successfully used CSP assistance and how the assistance could benefit your land.  The links will take you to the National CSP webpage.


Are you eligible? CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced. Applicants must have a tax identification number, either a social security number or TIN/EIN from the IRS. 

Applicants must be in compliance with USDA highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements, adjusted gross income requirement and have current farm records with USDA Farm Service Agency.

Applicants must have control of the land and maintain control for the term of the proposed contract, be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the operation and share in the risks associated with production.

Additional eligibility requirements apply. 

Is your land eligible? Private or Tribal land is eligible.  Land that is enrolled in ALE, FRPP or GRP conservation easement or a GRP rental agreement are also eligible. 

Eligible land must be private cropland, pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland, associated agricultural land, and farmsteads.

All eligible land in the operation that you will control for the 5 year term of the CSP contract must be included in the application.

Applicants must report to the Farm Service Agency all land in the United States that the applicant is associated with.  Applicants must provide to NRCS, or work with NRCS to develop, a map that shows all the land in the operation and the land uses.  The map will help you and NRCS determine what land eligible for enrollment, the appropriate enhancements, and if more than one application is needed.

CSP Stewardship Thresholds

To be eligible for CSP the land must meet the stewardship threshold for at least two resource concerns on each land management system at the time of application.  In addition, by the end of the contract period one additional resource concern for each land use must meet the stewardship threshold by the end of the contract period.

NRCS will evaluate each land use and make a determination of whether the stewardship threshold is met by resource concern using the Conservation Application and Evaluation Tool (CAET).  The following are the CAET worksheets for New Mexico for each land use.  NRCS will work with applicants to answer the questions using a combination of field inventory, review of producer documentation, review of aerial imagery and GIS layers, and professional judgement by NRCS.

The CAET responses must be verified in the field for the pre-approved applications.

The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader

CSP Payments

Participating in CSP represents a genuine commitment to conservation.  CSP contracts are for five years, with the option to renew if you successfully fulfill the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. One annual payment is made in each of the 5 years of the contract.  The annual payment may vary each year depending on the activities selected.

One conservation activity must be scheduled on each land use to meet one additional resource concern.

One activity must be started within 12 months.

The CSP annual payments consist of two parts:

Existing activity payment - this is based on the acres of each land use and number of resource concerns that meet the stewardship level at the time of application.  This payment is for the producer to maintain the stewardship level of the resource concerns being met at the time of application.

The payment is $350 per resource concern that is met per land use. 

The payment per acre is $7.50 for Crop, Pastured Crop and Farmstead; $3.00 for Pasture; $1.00 for Range, and $0.50 for Forest and Associated Ag Land.

Additional activity payment- this is based on the activities that are scheduled and the rates specified in the New Mexico CSP payment schedule.  Payments are made according to the amount applied in the applicable unit, such as, by foot or by acre.

Supplemental payments are optional and are only for resource conserving crop rotations.

When the total of the two parts is less than $1,500, NRCS will make an annual payment of 1,500.  Certain restrictions apply.

Conservation Practices, Enhancements and Bundles


Conservation practices, enhancements and bundles are referred to as “activities.”

The NRCS conservation practice standards and specifications are posted in the electronic Field Office Technical Guide at in Section IV, Conservation Practices.

Enhancements are activities that go above and beyond the minimum conservation practice standard requirements helping the producer achieve a higher level of conservation.   The first three numbers in the name of the enhancement refer to the practice code of a conservation practice.

A conservation practice can have many different purposes and address multiple resource concerns. Each enhancement is designed to address a specific resource concern identified in the conservation practice standard.  The middle numbers in the enhancement name refer to the resource concern the enhancement will address.

Bundles are groupings of enhancements that when implemented together provide a more comprehensive and synergistic approach to conservation.  To select a bundle, the majority of the enhancements in the bundle cannot be already adopted on the operation.  The name of the bundle shows the primary purpose of the bundle and does not restrict its use.  For example, Range Bundle #1- Organic can be used on any rangeland site, not just organically certified rangeland. 

The following documents explain the codes, provide a summary of the enhancements and bundles and lists which enhancements cannot be contracted in the same year at the same location:

The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader

For detailed information on implementation criteria and documentation requirements of CSP enhancements and bundles, please visit the National CSP website where a complete list of enhancements and the criteria for implementation may be found. 


New Mexico Supplements to National Enhancement Criteria

For the following enhancements New Mexico has identified additional criteria and/or documentation requirements that are required for implementing the enhancement within the State.

Participants will need both the New Mexico Supplement and the National Enhancement Activity Sheet for each enhancement that is contracted.

The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader

Supplements that apply to 2017 CSP contracts:

Supplements that apply to 2018 and 2019 CSP contracts:

CSP Ranking of Eligible Applications

After evaluating the land using CAET and identifying with the applicant the activities to implement, NRCS will select applications in each fund account according to the numerical score determined by the ranking criteria for that fund account.  The ranking criteria is based in part on the targeted resource concerns that have been set in the state.

The applications are selected in descending order with the highest ranking score selected first.  In the event of a tie, the application with the lower cost to the government will get selected. The number of applications that can be selected is limited by the funding available each year.

Click here for more information on the New Mexico fund accounts and ranking criteria.

After applications are selected for funding NRCS will develop the Conservation Stewardship Plan, Conservation Plan Map and contract agreement documents.  Applicants need to fully aware of the responsibilities that come with a contract.  The CSP Contract Appendix explains these contractual responsibilities. 

Click here for more information on the CSP Contract Participant Responsibilities.

Archived 2015 Enhancement Jobsheets

Click here for 2015 enhancement jobsheets.  These apply to existing 2015 and 2016 CSP contracts and the 2017 renewals. 


Please direct all questions about applying to CSP to your local office. 

For other inquiries, please contact:

Athena Cholas
Resource Conservationist for Programs
100 Sun Avenue N.E., Suite 602
Albuquerque, NM 87109
(505)761-4419 voice