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Conservation Stewardship Program

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Your stewardship goals. Our assistance. Applications due May 10, 2019.

(en Español)

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary program that helps farmers build on conservation efforts while strengthening operations. Whether you are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, or develop wildlife habitat, we can custom design a CSP plan to help you meet those goals. We can help you schedule timely planting of cover crops, develop a grazing plan that will improve your forage base, implement no-till to reduce erosion, or manage forested areas in a way that benefits wildlife habitat. If you are already taking steps to improve the condition of your land, CSP can help you find new ways to meet your goals.

The FY 2019 CSP Sign-Up Cut-off Date is May 10, 2019.

CSP 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. In FY 2018, 29 farmers in the Caribbean Area signed up over 940 acres of farmland in the Conservation Stewardship Program, for over $67,000.

Prescribed Grazing with good conservation cover on the steep lands in the Caribbean Area.Changes to the Program Under the 2018 Farm Bill

The 2018 Farm Bill authorizes NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from now until 2023, and it makes some important improvements to the program. These updates include:

  • NRCS now enrolls eligible, high ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres. For fiscal year 2019, NRCS can spend up to $700 million in the program, which covers part of the cost for producers implementing new conservation activities and maintaining their existing activities.
  • Higher payment rates are now available for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource-conserving crop rotations.
  • CSP now provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities and a special grassland conservation initiative for certain producers who have maintained cropland base acres.

Cover Crop (cowpea) with irrigation in the southern part of Puerto Rico.Most agriculture producers that participate in CSP have already been implementing conservation practices on their land. CSP offers enhancements for those practices. For example, if you have been practicing prescribed grazing, CSP may 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 functions.

Natural Resource Concerns
  • Soil Erosion
  • Soil Quality Degradation
  • Excess Water
  • Insufficient Water
  • Water Quality Degradation
  • Air Quality Impacts
  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Inadequate Fish & Wildlife Habitat
  • Livestock Production Limitations
  • Inefficient Energy Use

Eligibility

CSP eligible land includes:
  • Private agricultural land (cropland, pastureland, and rangeland)
  • Nonindustrial private forest land (NIPF)
  • Associated Agricultural Land
  • Farmstead
How CSP Can Help Your Farm Business

Benefits

Through CSP, we can help 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 it also provides multiple benefits to local communities, including better water and air quality and wildlife habitat, as well as healthy food.

  • Improved grazing conditions and livestock yields
  • Increased crop yields
  • Decreased inputs
  • Wildlife habitat improvements
  • Improved climate change resilience

FY 2019 Activity List for Participants

CSP enhancements - perennial crops, annual crops, farmstead, pastureland, rangeland, forestland, associated ag land

Documents & Information

Contact

José A. Castro, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 787-281-4962 or 787-501-6144, or your local NRCS Field Office.