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CSP - Learn More

How Does CSP Work?

Deb Clark - Faces of CSPMost of the agriculture producers that are approved to participate in CSP have already been implementing conservation practices on their land. CSP steps in and offers enhancements  for those practices. For example, if you have been practicing prescribed grazing, 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, just to name a few.

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 enhancement alternatives  for you to consider implementing on your land, based on existing conservation practices. The variety of CSP conservation activities that are offered give you a lot of freedom to select enhancements or practices  that help you meet your management goals.  These improvements work naturally with your land to bring out your land’s best potential.

Once you choose the enhancements that best fit your operation, CSP offers annual incentive payments for installing these practices on your land. If you want to take it even a step further, CSP also offers bundles  where you can select a suite of enhancements to implement and receive an even higher payment rate.


CSP Contracts

Dick Flemming - Faces of CSPThe program 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. An NRCS conservation planner will work closely with you throughout the entire process.

Contract payments are based on two components:

  • payments to maintain the existing conservation based on the operation type and number of resource concerns that are meeting the stewardship level at the time of application and
  • payments to implement additional conservation activities.

All CSP contracts will have a minimum annual payment of $1,500.

You will be required to maintain the stewardship level of the resource concerns you are already meeting plus meet or exceed at least one additional resource concern in each land use by the end of the contract. If the objectives of the initial CSP contract are achieved, you may be eligible to re-enroll for an additional five-year contract if you agree to adopt additional conservation activities to meet or exceed two additional priority resource concerns.


Investment in the Future

Cornelius Joe - Faces of CSP

From enrollment to planning and 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 reporting and tracking 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. It is the largest conservation program in the United States with 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled in CSP. Thousands of people that have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation.

CSP participants are seeing real results.  Some of these benefits include:

  • Improved cattle gains per acre
  • Increased crop yields
  • Decreased inputs
  • Wildlife population improvements
  • Better resilience to weather extremes

Through CSP, we can help you build your business while implementing conservation practices 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 and wildlife habitat, as well as food and fiber.


Management Makes a Difference

Faces of CSP MiguelEvery piece of property has its own unique characteristics and possibilities 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 management 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 reduce wind and water erosion
  • Planting range grasses to improve soil health and wildlife habitat