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Conservation Stewardship Program

FB2018 CSP Web Asset

FY2020 Application Cut-off Dates
CSP Renewals: March 20, 2020
CSP Classic: June 12, 2020

Overview

The Conservation Stewardship Program helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns. Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance - the higher the performance, the higher the payment.

Submitting an Application

NRCS accepts applications year-round and establishes cutoff dates to batch applications for ranking and funding decisions.

Benefits

CSP is for working lands. It is the largest conservation program in the United States. Thousands of people 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:

  • Enhanced resiliency to weather and market volatility
  • Decreased need for agricultural inputs
  • Improved wildlife habitat conditions

Program Eligibility

CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced, in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Caribbean and Pacific Island areas.

  • Applicants may include individuals, legal entities, joint operations or Indian tribes that meet the stewardship threshold for at least two priority resource concerns when they apply.
  • The entire operation must be enrolled and must include all eligible land operated that will be under the applicant's control for the term of the proposed contract.
  • Applicants must agree to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least one additional resource concern by the end of the contract.
  • To comply with the required stewardship prerequisites necessary to demonstrate that resource protection is already being addressed, applicants will need to provide documented verification of practices and/or improved management already being applied.
  • Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

Eligible Lands

  • Agricultural Land: Private or Tribal cropland, pastureland and rangeland and nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF).
  • Farmstead: Land used for facilities and supporting infrastructure where farming, forestry, animal husbandry, and ranching activities are often initiated. This may include dwellings, equipment storage, plus farm input and output storage and handling facilities. Also includes land dedicated to the facilitation and production of high-intensity animal agriculture in a containment facility where daily nutritional requirements are obtained from other lands or feed sources.
  • Associated Agriculture Lands (AAL): Land associated with farms and ranches that are not purposefully managed for food, forage, or fiber and are typically associated with nearby production or conservation lands. This could include incidental areas, such as idle center pivot corners, odd areas, ditches and watercourses, riparian areas, field edges, seasonal and permanent wetlands, and other similar areas. AAL must be associated with an agricultural or NIPF operation and cannot be enrolled on its own.
  • Public Land: Under the effective control of the applicant and a working component of the agricultural or NIPF operation.

Ineligible Lands

  • Private land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, or land enrolled in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) –Wetland Reserve Easement option.
  • Note: Land enrolled in a Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) easement or an Agriculture Land Easement (ALE) may be eligible for enrollment.

Activities

Links to downloadable job sheets for CSP Enhancements and Bundles, approved plant species for Conservation Cover Crop Rotation use in California, and conservation practices and enhancements compatibility matrix.

Ranking Process

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee has developed ranking criteria to prioritize and subsequently fund applications addressing priority natural resource concerns in California.  NRCS uses the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) to assess the site vulnerability, existing conditions, and identify potential resource concerns on a unit of land.   After CART assessment, NRCS uses CART Ranking to evaluate an application in all applicable ranking pools.

State Resource Priorities

  • Air quality emissions
  • Degraded plant condition
  • Field pesticide loss
  • Livestock production limitation
  • Terrestrial habitat

Ranking Pools

  • CSP assessments will be ranked as Agricultural Lands (cropland, pastureland and rangeland) or Non-industrial Private Forestlands (NIPF).
  • If the operation contains both Agricultural Lands and NIPF and the applicant wishes to enroll all landuses then separate contracts are required.
CSP Classic Ranking Pools
Agricultural Lands - General
Agricultural Lands – Beginning Farmer or Rancher
Agricultural Lands – Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher
Agricultural Lands – Organic (certified and transitioning)
Non-Industrial Private Forestlands – General
Non-Industrial Private Forestlands – Beginning Farmer or Rancher
Non-Industrial Private Forestlands – Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher
CSP Renewal Ranking Pools
Agricultural Lands - General
Agricultural Lands – Beginning Farmer or Rancher
Agricultural Lands – Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher
Agricultural Lands – Organic (certified and transitioning)
Non-Industrial Private Forestlands – General
Non-Industrial Private Forestlands – Beginning Farmer or Rancher
Non-Industrial Private Forestlands – Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher

Interested Applicants

For more information about EQIP, how to apply and program eligibility, interested applicants should contact a NRCS field office in the county which you own land or where you have an agricultural operation.

Program Contact

RaeAnn Dubay, Program Manager
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Davis State Office, California
Phone: 530-792-5653
Email: RaeAnn.Dubay@usda.gov

Erik Beardsley, Program Specialist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Davis State Office, California
Phone: 530-792-5649
Email: Erik.Beardsley@usda.gov