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Conservation Stewardship Program

Conservation Stewardship Program. Your Goals. Our Assistance.

Your Stewardship Goals. Our Assistance.

Have you ever looked across your property and thought about some land management goals you would like to take to the next level? Maybe we can help.

No one knows more about your land than you do, and no one knows more about conservation than we do. Together we can develop a plan tailored to your land and your goals to help you increase productivity and protect the value of your land.

Our Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps you build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation.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 the land, chances are CSP can help you find new ways to meet your goals.


CSP applications are accepted throughout the year.


Sustainable Production

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.

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.

Enhancements and Bundles

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is for producers who want to take their conservation efforts to the next level. Most CSP applicants have already been applying conservation practices to their land. Through CSP, they have the opportunity to give those practices a boost with conservation activities called "enhancements." Enhancements take conservation practices to a higher level of stewardship. CSP applicants work on-one-one with their NRCS conservation planner to select enhancements that best fit their management goals and that will address resource concerns on the enrolled operation.  Through CSP, producers can choose from over 200 enhancements to address resource concerns on their operation.

CSP applicants who want to increase their conservation stewardship even further may consider “bundles” of enhancement activities. Some enhancements work together to provide increased conservation benefits when they are implemented as a group. Producers may consider adopting these enhancement groups or “bundles” on their operation.

Each bundle has three or more required enhancements, and for some bundles, the applicant has the option to pick additional enhancements from a select list that addresses specific resource concerns.

Bundles have enhancements grouped according to land use – crop, pasture, range and forest, as well as agency initiatives such as Working Lands for Wildlife. Bundles receive a higher level of financial assistance to encourage the holistic approach to generate additional conservation benefits.

Eligibility

Eligible lands include private and Tribal agricultural lands, cropland, grassland, pastureland, rangeland and nonindustrial private forest land. 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. They must also agree to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least one additional resource concern by the end of the contract.

Producers must have effective control of the land for the term of the proposed contract. Contracts include all eligible land in the agricultural operation.

Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

More important program information:

FY2021 CSP Classic - Rhode Island Ranking Questions

Agricultural Lands

Non-Industrial Private Forestland

How to Apply

The best way to learn if Conservation Stewardship Program is a good fit for you is by contacting your local Rhode Island NRCS field office conservationist.

If you choose to move forward, your local NRCS conservationist will guide you through applying for the program. 

Applications are ranked, and if yours is funded, NRCS will offer you an CSP contract to receive financial assistance for the cost of implementing practices. Payment rates for conservation practices are reviewed and set each fiscal year. More information on this process is available on our Get Started with NRCS page; new-to-NRCS producers will find specific guidance for establishing farm records (Farm & Tract Number), initiating the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Compliance evaluation, updating Adjusted Gross Income, etc.

The following forms should be submitted to your local NRCS Office in Rhode Island, located at:

USDA NRCS
60 Quaker Lane, Suite 46
Warwick, RI 02886

View the USDA NRCS National Conservation Stewardship Program page to read more, including Success Stories and Fact Sheets.

Choose your land use for CSP.