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Conservation Security Program

Conservation Security Program (CSP)

The Conservation SECURITY Program was eliminated in the 2008 Farm Bill. It is more-or-less replaced by the Conservation STEWARDSHIP Program. The following information is provided for archival purposes, and to facilitate administration of "Security" Program contracts.

CSP is a voluntary program first authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill. The program is designed to reward those farmers and ranchers meeting the very highest standards of conservation and environmental management on their working agricultural lands.  CSP also creates powerful incentives for continued conservation improvements and encourages other agricultural producers to meet higher standards of conservation on their operations as well.  The achievement of a superior level of stewardship activities, such as those rewarded under CSP, will benefit generations to come.

Watershed Approach

From 2004-2008, CSP will be offered in a rotating watershed eligibility system. Watersheds are nature’s boundaries and group producers with similar resource issues.  The watershed approach is easily adapted to funding changes and keeps costs within mandated technical assistance funding.

Watersheds Selected for 2008 CSP

The watersheds selected for participation in 2008 include land within the Animas Valley and Cloverdale watersheds in the boot heel of New Mexico, and the extreme eastern most part of Cochise county, AZ.  Dominant land uses in the watersheds include rangeland, and irrigated cropland. Irrigated pasture is also present, though it covers relatively small acreage.

Counties in Selected Watersheds


  • Hidalgo, NM

Animas Valley:

  • Hidalgo, NM
  • Grant, NM
  • Luna, NM
  • Cochise, AZ

The Lordsburg, NM NRCS Field Office has been designated the lead office for the sign-up in these two watersheds. They may be contacted at (575) 542-9141, and are located at 405 Duncan Highway Lordsburg, NM 88045.
Alternatively, you may contact the Silver City, NM Field Office at (575) 388-1569, the Deming, NM Field Office at (575) 546-9692, or the Wilcox, AZ Field Office at (520) 384-2229.

The following document requires Adobe Acrobat.

Click map at left (or here) for a larger version of the 2008 watershed map; map is provided in (PDF; 750 KB)


To receive technical assistance, a landowner or manager may contact the local NRCS or conservation district office. To apply for the program, NRCS will ask potential participants to complete the self-assessment  (PDF; 2.1 MB) to determine if their operations meet the standards of the program and qualify for program participation. By going through the workbook, producers will get a good idea about whether they are eligible for CSP at this time.

The program provides three tiers of participation that differ in contract length and total payments according to the amount of treatment and the portion of the agricultural operation being offered.  Using the benchmark inventory and other application material, NRCS will determine if the applicant meets the tier’s minimum criteria.

Tier I, the producer must have addressed soil quality and water quality for eligible land uses on part of the agricultural operation prior to application.

Tier II, the producer must have addressed soil quality and water quality for eligible land uses on the entire agricultural operation prior to application and agree to address the locally significant resource concern of wildlife habitat by the end of the contract period.

Tier III,  the producer must have addressed all resource concerns to a resource management system level for all eligible land uses on the entire agricultural operation before application into the program.

General Information
Photo of corn residue taken near Cotton City
Example of 2008 Watershed
located in Hidalgo County

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

2008 CSP Sign-Up Notice (PDF; 1592 KB) (includes detail on application eligibility and ranking)

Self-Assessment Workbook (PDF; 2.1 MB)

CSP Limited Resource Farmers (PDF; 30 KB)

CSP Questionnaire (PDF; 36 KB)

CSP Fact Sheet (PDF; 51 KB)

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

A complete list of eligible enhancements is included on the final pate of the the Self-Assessment Workbook (PDF; 2.1 MB). The a Spanish version (PDF; 889 KB) of the Self-Assessment Workbook is also available.

Descriptions of the enhancement Enhancement Activities  and associated Certification Sheets area available by clicking one of the preceding links.

Payment Schedule
The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

Payment amounts in the schedule are listed on a per unit basis; program payments are subject to various rules, and simply multiplying planned extents by payment amounts can over estimate payments.

 A copy of the Animas/Cloverdale Watershed payment schedule is available by via the following link: Animas/Cloverdale CSP Payment Schedule (PDF; 60.1 KB).

Notes on use of of the CSP Payment Schedule:
1. The activity under the national enhancement Pesticide Management related to “Maintain windbreaks where pesticides are applied to reduce and/or intercept spray drift” will require the use of the payment schedule component EAM4h-Windbreaks under Air Quality.
2. The activity under the national enhancements Agricultural Odor and Ozone Precursors related to “Implement and/or maintain biofilters system on enclosed structures to treat exhausts” will require the use of the payment schedule component EAM4b-Biofilters under Air Quality. The unit cost is per 1,000 CFM.
3. Under the national enhancement Compaction Avoidance through Controlled Traffic the payment schedule component ESM44a Controlled Traffic-Fixed Travel Markers will be used when GPS technology is not available, and the payment schedule component ESM44b Controlled Traffic-GPS will be used when GPS technology is available.

Assessment Tools

The following tools require Microsoft Excel,  or Adobe Acrobat.

These tools are fairly complex, but are being made available here for both NRCS and public download. NRCS staff in affected watersheds have additional guidance and training needed to complete these tools in accordance with NRCS policy. Interested applicants are encouraged to review the tools for the types of information needed, and then complete them with NRCS staff during the applicant interview.

Soil and Water Evaluation Tool (XLS; 412 KB)

Soil and Water Evaluation Tool Instructions (PDF; 107 KB)

Wildlife Evaluation Tool (XLS; 800 KB)

Wildlife Evaluation Tool Instructions (PDF; 412 KB)

Payment Estimator (XLS; 237 KB)

For More Information

General information on the program can also be found on the national CSP webpage or by contacting your local NRCS field office.

New Mexico CSP Watersheds
A picture of a watershed in New Mexico
Program Contact - New Mexico State Office

Seth Fiedler
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Phone: (505)761-4416
Fax: (505)761-4462