The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) 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 taps into producers’ deep-rooted commitment to conservation. Participants voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operations - providing food, fiber, and energy. Participants enroll their entire agricultural operation in the program under a 5-year contract, with the option to apply to renew for another 5 years. NRCS helps producers maintain or improve the existing conservation activities on their operations and adopt new ones. The program offers greater incentives for producers who want to kick their conservation up a notch with bundles of enhancements with higher payment rates.
CSP applications are accepted on a continuous basis, however, NRCS establishes application "cut-off" or submission deadline dates for evaluation, ranking and approval of eligible applications. CSP is open to all eligible agricultural producers and submitted applications may be considered or evaluated in multiple funding pool opportunities. The following document describes how to apply for Farm Bill programs or visit the following website about getting started with NRCS and the 5 Steps to Assistance: Get started with NRCS.
Applications submitted by May 10, 2019 will be evaluated to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2019. Applications received after that date will be accepted and evaluated for future rounds of funding.
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.
Include all agricultural or private forest land in your operation that you will have effective control of for the 5-year term of the CSP contract.
Farm records must be established with the Farm Service Agency for these lands for your application to be evaluated meeting all HEL and Wetland conservation requirements.
Be prepared to provide maps that identify all land in your operation to a NRCS representative. The maps will help you and NRCS determine the land that is eligible for enrollment, payment, and if you have one or more operations to offer for enrollment.
Additional restrictions and program requirements may apply.
Socially Disadvantaged Farmer/Rancher, Beginning Farmer/Rancher and Beginning Farmer Military Veteran Farmer/Rancher Applicants
The Farm Bill continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning farmers and ranchers and Veteran Farmers. It provides for voluntary participation and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services. Missouri NRCS has a funding pool for the following:
Beginning Farmers who are also Veteran Farmers are considered a high priority when selecting applications for contract development
Eligible lands will be identified and the number of resource concerns that are currently meeting and not meeting stewardship thresholds will be determined through CAET (Conservation Activity Evaluation Tool). Each applicant must be meeting stewardship threshold for at least two resource concerns on each land management system in each land use at the time of application. The applicant must also agree to address one additional resource concern for each land use by the end of the contract to be eligible.
The NRCS conservation planner will present a variety of CSP conservation activities for you to consider implementing on your land, based on the resource stewardship thresholds you would like to meet or exceed. The variety of CSP conservation activities that are offered give you many options for selecting enhancements or practices that help you improve your current management system, increase your profits, and meet your stewardship goals.
CSP Ranking: Missouri NIPF and Agricultural Land Regions
Each agricultural operation can submit a maximum of two applications. One for agricultural land and one for NIPF. Each application meeting applicant and land eligibility requirements will be evaluated and then ranked to determine how well the existing and planned management system will address national, state, and local natural resource priorities. National and state questions used for ranking were developed by national staff. The local questions are based on compilations of Local Work Group and State Technical Committee input. Targeted Resource Concerns for each region were developed with input from Local Work Groups and the State Technical Committee.
Applications will be considered for funding in the region where the majority of their agricultural operation lies. In Missouri, NIPF, Beginning Farmer, and Socially Disadvantaged applications compete in a statewide region. Agricultural Lands (pasture land, hayland, cropland, grassland) do not compete statewide but rather by Missouri NRCS Field Office Service Areas (FOSA). Eligible applications in each FOSA will be evaluated with the highest scoring applications in each region receiving contract offers first. For agricultural land (AgLand) applications, the FOSA boundaries are shown below:
CSP Enhancement Activities
CSP enhancement activities are management activities that go above and beyond the minimum conservation practice standard requirements helping the producer achieve a higher level of conservation. The following information is available regarding the CSP enhancements available in Missouri:
To locate a specific enhancement activity, search the document using the enhancement code. For example, enhancement E314133Z (Brush management for improved structure and composition) can be found by searching for “E314133Z”.
CSP contracts are for five years, with the option to renew if you successfully fulfill the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. An NRCS conservation planner will work closely with you throughout the entire process.
Contract payments are based on two components:
Maintaining the existing conservation based on the operation type and number of resource concerns that are meeting the stewardship level at the time of application and
Implementing additional conservation activities.
Contract participants are required to maintain the stewardship level of the resource concerns existing at the time of application plus meeting or exceeding at least one additional resource concern in each land use by the end of the contract. If the objectives of the initial CSP contract are achieved, participants may be eligible to re-enroll for an additional 5-year contract when agreeing to adopt additional conservation activities to meet or exceed two additional priority resource concerns.
Applicants are responsible for completing and filing all application and eligibility paperwork as required. If funded, participants are required to sign a contract and agree to implement the planned conservation practices and/or enhancements to NRCS standards and specifications as scheduled and provide documentation each year of completed conservation activities on their operation.
Missouri CSP Contact Information
George Henshaw, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
USDA NRCS State Office
Parkade Center, Suite 250
601 Business Loop, 70 West
Columbia, MO 65203