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Conservation Stewardship Program

Applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program are accepted year-round. The deadline for the next funding period will be announced at least 30 days before the application deadline.

Applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program are accepted year-round. The deadline for fiscal year 2021 general or “classic” sign-up is January 15, 2021. Applicants must have farm records with the Farm Service Agency prior to submitting an application to NRCS.

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


How Does CSP Work?

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program that encourages agricultural 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.

To be eligible for classic CSP, the land must meet an established stewardship threshold for at least two resource concerns on each land use 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. For CSP renewals the participant must agree to implement activities on all land uses that will either a) meet or exceed the stewardship threshold of at least two additional priority resource concerns; or b) achieve higher levels of conservation performance with respect to not less than two existing priority resource concerns. NRCS will evaluate each land use and determine whether the stewardship threshold is met using the Conservation Assessment and Ranking Tool (CART). 

After the entire operation is found eligible for CSP and conservation activities have been selected, the application will be ranked according to state priorities with the highest scoring applications selected first. The number of applications that can be selected is limited by the funding available each year. 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.

The CSP producer success stories on the left side bar provide examples of how producers across the United States have successfully used CSP assistance. More success stories are found at the national CSP webpage.


Eligibility

Are you eligible? CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced. Applicants must be agricultural producers who

  • Are actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the agricultural operation and share in the risks associated with production.
  • have current farm records with USDA Farm Service Agency.
  • have a tax identification number, either a social security number or TIN/EIN from the IRS. 
  • be in compliance with USDA highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements.
  • meet the USDA adjusted gross income requirement.
  • have control of the land and maintain control for the 5-year term.
  • Additional eligibility requirements apply. 

Is your land eligible? Private, public and Tribal land may be eligible. Eligible land can be cropland, pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland, associated agricultural land, and farmsteads. All eligible land in the operation 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 is eligible for enrollment and the appropriate enhancements for the operation.


CSP Payments

An 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 in the first 12 months of the contract.

The annual payment consists of two parts:

1. Existing activity payment - this payment provides financial assistance to maintain the stewardship level determined in the CART assessment.

a) A payment of $300 per resource concern that is met per land use. Only nationally required resource concerns can earn the existing activity payment.

b) A per acre payment for land enrolled: $7.50 for crop and farmstead, $3.00 for pasture, $1.00 for range, $0.50 for forest and associated ag land.

2. Additional activity payment - this is based on the activities that are scheduled and the rates specified in the New Mexico CSP payment schedule. See the left side bar for a link to the payment schedule schedules.

When the total of the two parts is less than $1,500, NRCS will make an annual payment of $1,500. Payment limits apply to all contracts. Please discuss this with your local NRCS office.

Conservation Practices, Enhancements and Bundles

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

  • Practices and enhancements must be implemented in accordance with NRCS practice standards and specifications posted in the electronic Field Office Technical Guide at https://efotg.sc.egov.usda.gov/ 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 conservation practice code.
  • 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. 

CLICK on the images below to get to the national NRCS CSP webpage for more information on CSP enhancements and bundles 

New Mexico Supplements to National Enhancement Criteria

For some enhancements New Mexico has identified additional criteria and/or documentation requirements. Participants will follow both the New Mexico Supplement and the National Enhancement Activity Sheet for the enhancements below.

The documents below require Adobe Acrobat Reader

Supplements that apply to 2020 and 2021 CSP contracts:

Supplements that apply to 2017 CSP contracts:

Supplements that apply to 2018 and 2019 CSP contracts:

Archived Enhancement Jobsheets

Click here for previous year enhancement jobsheets.  These apply to existing 2015, 2016 and 2017 renewals.

Contact

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