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Conservation Stewardship Program

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The Conservation Stewardship Program helps agricultural producers maintain and improve their existing conservation systems and adopt additional conservation activities to address priority resources concerns.  Participants earn CSP payments for conservation performance - the higher the performance, the higher the payment. 

CSP applications must be received by May 10, 2019 to be considered for this funding period.


Through CSP, participants take additional steps to improve  resource condition including soil quality, water quality, water quantity, air quality, and habitat quality, as well as energy.

CSP provides two types of payments through five-year contracts:

Producers may be able to renew a contract if they have successfully fulfilled the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. Payments are made soon as practical after October 1 of each fiscal year for contract activities installed and maintained in the previous year.


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 priority resource concern by the end of the contract.

Additionally, applicants MUST:

  1. Be the operator of record in the USDA farm records management system for the land being offered for enrollment.
  2. Have effective control of the land for the 5 year term of the CSP contract. Effective control is defined to mean the possession of the land by ownership, written lease, or other legal agreement and authority to act as decision-maker for the day-to-day management of the operation both at the time the applicant enters into a Stewardship Contract and for the 5 year period of the contract. Applicants will self-certify control at the time of application and all contract participants will be subject to an annual random verification process to confirm they have control for the required contract period.
  3. Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of USDA.
  4. Include all eligible land in their entire agricultural or forestry operation.

A person or legal entity may not receive more than $40,000 annually or $200,000 for a five-year contract.

Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.

Virginia Priority Resource Concerns – Agricultural Land

  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Livestock Production Limitation
  • Soil Erosion
  • Soil Quality Degradation
  • Water Quality Degradation

Virginia Priority Resource Concerns – Forestry Land

  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Fish and Wildlife – Inadequate Habitat
  • Soil Erosion
  • Soil Quality Degradation
  • Water Quality Degradation

CSP Enhancements

Enhancements are management activities that go above and beyond the minimum conservation practice standard requirements helping the producer achieve a higher level of conservation.

FY18 CSP Activity List for Participants

View National Enhancements by Land Use.

How to Apply - Contact your local USDA Service Center

Visit your local USDA Service Center visit

More Information

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

Virginia Contacts:

Patrick Vincent
Farm Bill Program Specialist
Phone: (804) 287-1642

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