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Application Evaluation Ranking Tool (AERT)

Conservation Stewardship Program

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Conservation Stewardship Program

Your Stewardship Goals. Our Assistance.

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is the largest conservation program in the United States. Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips, and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land. Crop producers, ranchers, dairy farmers, forest landowners, poultry producers, organic farmers, and specialty crop farmers all participate in the program. It is delivering real results on the ground and for the nations natural resources.

CSP participants voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operations - providing food, fiber, and energy. Participants enroll their entire ag operation in the program under a 5-year contract, with the option to renew for another 5 years. NRCS helps producers maintain or improve the existing conservation activities on their operations and adopt new ones. The program offers greater incentives for producers who want to kick their conservation up a notch with bundles of enhancements with higher payment rates.

Ranking Deadline for FY 2018 is March 2, 2018

Producers interested in CSP should submit applications to their local USDA NRCS Service Center by the deadline so that their applications can be considered during the ranking period of 2018.

Priority Resource Concerns

Degraded Plant Condition Plant productivity, vigor and/or quality negatively impacts other resources or does not meet yield potential due to improper fertility, management or plants not adapted to site.
   
Inefficient Energy Use The inefficient use of energy increases costs and dependence on non-renewable energy sources.
   
Soil Erosion Detachment and transportation of soil particles caused by rainfall runoff/splash, irrigation runoff, or wind that degrades soil quality.
   
Soil Quality Degradation Loss of volume and depth of organic soils due to oxidation caused by above normal microbial activity resulting from excessive water drainage, soil disturbance, or extended drought. This excludes karst/sinkholes issues or depressions caused by underground activity.
   
Water Quality Degradation Nutrients (organic and inorganic) are transported to receiving waters through surface runoff and/or leaching into shallow ground waters in quantities that degrade water quality and limit use for intended purposes.

Additional Information

NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program National Website