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Conservation Stewardship Program


Conservation Stewardship Program

About CSP

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 is for working lands. It is the largest conservation program in the United States, with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled in the program. Thousands of people have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation.

Application deadline to be considered for Fiscal Year 2022 CSP "Renewal" funding is March 31, 2021.
Application deadline to be considered for Fiscal Year 2021 CSP "Classic" funding is April 9, 2021. However, applications for CSP are accepted year-round.  For more information please visit the NRCS National CSP Site.


Through CSP, we can help you build your business while implementing conservation practices that will 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. Eligible lands include cropland, pasture lands, rangeland, farmsteads, and non-industrial private forest lands. It includes agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. The program also provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.

Program participants take additional steps to improve resource condition including soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources. Program participants are seeing:

  • Improved cattle gains per acre;
  • Increased crop yields;
  • Decreased inputs;
  • Wildlife population improvements; and
  • Better resilience to weather extremes.

Conservation Activities

Conservation activities include conservation practices, enhancements, and enhancement bundles.

Conservation practices must meet the criteria in the conservation practice standards and specifications available in the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG)

  • Enhancements are a conservation activity used to treat natural resource concerns and improve producer conservation performance.  Enhancement adoption results in environmental benefits that are equal to or greater than the performance level for the planning criteria identified for a given resource concern
  • Enhancement Bundles are specific enhancements whose installation as a group produce conservation performance improvement and address resource concerns in a more comprehensive and cost-effective manner
  • 2021 CSP Activity List - enhancement, practices, and bundles


Applicant Eligibility – Applicants may include individuals, legal entities, or joint operations. All CSP applications must meet the following eligibility requirements for CSP "Classic":

  • Be the operator, owner, or other tenant of an agricultural operation in the Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm records management system.  Note: Producers must establish or update records with FSA before NRCS will consider them eligible.
  • Have effective control of the land (as defined in the CSP regulation at 7CFR Part 1470) and include all eligible land in their entire operation in their contract.
  • Comply with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions and comply with Adjusted Gross Income provisions.
  • Comply with provisions for protecting the interests of tenants and sharecroppers, including the provisions for sharing payments on a fair and equitable basis.

Land Eligibility – CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced. Eligible lands include private agricultural lands (crop, pasture, and rangeland), nonindustrial private forest land (NIPF), associated agricultural land, and farmstead. Public land associated with the land uses described above is eligible, if under the effective control of the applicant, and if a working component of the producer’s agricultural or NIPF operation.  Producers must have effective control of the land for the term of the proposed contract. Contracts must include all eligible land associated with the applicants agricultural or NIPF operation.

Stewardship Threshold Eligibility – NRCS will use the Conservation Assessment and Ranking Tool (CART) to determine whether or not the applicant is addressing resource concerns in order to meet the stewardship eligibility requirement. An applicant's conservation activities must meet or exceed the stewardship threshold on all land uses for both of the following:

  • At least two resource concern categories at the time of contract offer on all land uses
    included in the operation.
  • At least one additional resource concern category by the end of the conservation stewardship
    contract on at least one land use.

Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

CSP Application Deadlines:

March 31, 2021

Fiscal Year 2022-1-Renewal application batching cut-off date for 2017-1 contracts

April 9, 2021

2021-1 CSP Classic, application batching cut-off date.

May 21, 2021

2021-1 CSP Classic eligibility filing deadline

June 11, 2021

2021-1 CSP Classic, complete application assessment and ranking in the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART).

August 13, 2021

2021-1 CSP Classic Obligation Deadline


2022-1-Renewal Obligation Deadline for participants with expiring 2017-1 contracts.



CSP Grasslands Conservation Initiative

This new initiative assists producers in protecting grazing land uses, conserving and improving soil, water and wildlife resources and achieving related conservation values by conserving eligible land through grassland conservation contracts. Eligible lands are limited to cropland for which base acres have been maintained under FSA’s ARC/PLC and were planted to grass or pasture, including idle or fallow, during a specific period. Enrolled acreage must be managed consistently with a grassland conservation plan. Producers will have a single opportunity to enroll eligible land in a five-year contract.

CSP Renewals

Existing CSP participants may be eligible to renew their contract for an additional 5-year term during the fifth year of their initial contract. Participants who have met the terms of their initial contract and who agree to implement more conservation activities will now be ranked and compete for a renewal contract. To meet the renewal stewardship threshold, the participant must agree to meet or exceed two additional priority resource concerns categories or agree to adopt or improve existing conservation activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on two priority resource concern categories met or exceeded in the initial contract.

CSP Renewals and the 2-Year Ineligibility Period
If a participant fails to renew a prior CSP contract within 2 years following expiration of that prior existing contract, regardless of the reason for not entering into a renewal contract. The participant will be subject to a 2-year ineligibility period. This includes when the renewal application does not rank high enough for NRCS to select it for funding.

CSP Payments

Participating in the program represents a genuine commitment to conservation. Contracts are for five years with the option to renew if you successfully fulfill the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. 

How do I Apply

If you're ready to take your conservation efforts to the next level we are here to help.

NRCS accepts CSP application on a continuous basis. Applicants must submit Form NRCS‐CPA‐1200, “Conservation Program Application,” and a map delineating the entire agricultural or NIPF operation. Agricultural land applications will compete separately from nonindustrial private forest land (NIPF) applications. An applicant with both NIPF and agricultural land can submit one application for NIPF, one for agricultural land, or two applications (one for each land type). Applicants requesting consideration as a veteran, socially disadvantaged, or beginning farmer or rancher must self‐certify by marking all applicable status boxes on Form NRCS‐CPA‐1200.

The producer must provide as part of their application A map that identifies and delineates the boundaries of all eligible land uses and acres in the operation. Identify any ineligible land that is part of the operation – may be on a map or other documentation.

Form: NRCS-CPA-1200 Conservation Program Contract

For application batching period information see the table above.

Application Ranking

Eligible applications that meet the stewardship threshold eligibility requirements will be ranked using the Conservation, Assessment, and Ranking Tool (CART). NRCS ranks CSP applications based on the following factors:


For FY2021 CSP Classic and FY2022 CSP Renewals the eight targeted resource concerns for Ag Land,


Organic, and Non-Industrial Private Forest (NIPF) selected for Utah are:


  • Livestock Production Limitation
  • Field Sediment, Nutrient, and Pathogen Loss
  • Source Water Depletion
  • Terrestrial Habitat
  • Soil Quality Limitation
  • Fire Management
  • Storage and Handling of Pollutants
  • Aquatic Habitat

Benefits to Participants:

Subject to the availability of funds, participants will receive one payment per fiscal year of the contract, as soon as practicable after October 1, which includes:

  • An annual payment for maintaining and managing existing conservation activities.
  • Payments for installing and adopting additional conservation activities.
  • Supplemental payments on cropland where a resource conserving crop rotation has been adopted or improved.

Payment Limit: Each conservation stewardship contract with a person or legal entity will be limited to $200,000 over the term of the initial contract period. Conservation stewardship contracts with joint operations (FSA business type 2 or 3) may have a contract limit of up to $400,000 over the term of the initial contract period

Helpful Links:

More Information:

Find a local USDA Service Center.

Utah Conservation Stewardship Program contacts: