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Conservation Stewardship Program

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2020 Conservation Stewardship Program Signup:  Applications are accepted on a continuous basis; however, applications for the last funding period were due by May 29, 2020, News Release, April 27, 2020, NRCS Announces 2020 Deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program. They Fiscal Year 2021 funding application period will be announced soon.

Introduction

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities. CSP helps you build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation.  CSP is for working lands. It is the largest conservation program in the United States.  CSP participants are seeing real results. 

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, as well as food and fiber.

CSP is available on private agricultural and non-industrial forest lands, including tribal land, in all 50 states and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands areas. The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.

Applying for CSP

Applications for CSP are accepted on a continuous basis. A signed NRCS-CPA-1200 application form must have been submitted to the local field office. After submitting an application, the applicant will also receive a copy of the NRCS-CPA-1202 Contract Appendix, explaining CSP contract terms and conditions. Reviewing the contract appendix up front helps the applicant understand the requirements of CSP. In addition, all applicants need to meet eligibility requirements in order to be a CSP participant. Contact your local field office to discuss eligibility criteria.

The Application Evaluation Process 

Once your application has been submitted to the local NRCS office along with a map that identifies and delineates the boundaries of all eligible land uses and acres included in the operation, local NRCS staff will have a one-on-one consultation with you to evaluate your current management system and the natural resources on your land using the Conservation Assessment and Ranking Tool (CART).  Eligible lands will be identified and the number of resource concerns that are currently meeting and not meeting stewardship thresholds will be determined.  Each applicant must meet or exceed a stewardship threshold for at least two resource concerns on each land use at the time of application.  The applicant must also agree to meet or exceed at least one additional resource concern for each land use by the end of the contract to be eligible.

Texas Natural Resource Priorities

The Texas priority resource concerns for Agricultural Land CSP Classic, Beginning Farmer and Rancher, Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher, and Organic (including renewals) are degraded plant condition, field sediment: nutrient and pathogen loss, livestock production limitation, soil quality limitations, and wind and water erosion.

The Texas priority resource concerns for Non-Industrial Private Forest (NIPF) land (including renewals) are plant condition, fish and wildlife habitat, soil erosion, soil quality, and water quality.

The Texas priority resource concerns for the Longleaf Pine Initiative (including renewals) are air quality emissions, degraded plant condition, pest pressure, fire management, and terrestrial habitat.

For more CSP information visit the National CSP web page.

For assistance in developing a Conservation Stewardship Plan, contact your local field office.