Conservation Stewardship Program
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) – formerly the Conservation Security Program – was established in the 2002 Farm Bill and represents the first serious attempt to move toward an outcome-based federal conservation program that rewards environmental performance rather than prescriptive practices. The CSP is also the first broad-based federal farm conservation incentive program ever that by statute and regulation requires participants to solve resource problems to the non-degradation or sustainable resources use level.
CSP participants can earn up to $40,000 a year to actively manage and maintain existing and new conservation systems. Payments are not based on the type or volume of production or on prices, but on fulfillment of clearly defined conservation conditions and compensation for provision of environmental services.
The 2008 Farm Bill expands and improves the Conservation Stewardship Program, making it available nationwide with a continuous enrollment process and ranking system. For more information about the new and improved CSP, including eligibility requirements, payments, and contact information at USDA, please visit the Conservation Stewardship Program page of NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill.
USDA issued a final rule for the program on June 3, 2010.
NSAC Resources on CSP:
- Information Alert on FY 2013 CSP sign up - April 2013 (PDF)
- The Conservation Stewardship Program page of NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill
- NSAC’s 2011 Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program
- Information Alert on FY 2012 CSP sign up
- CSP Enhancements and Practices Ranked by Environmental Benefit Score, compiled by NSAC, November 2012.
- Hidden Treasures: The Conservation Security Program and Wildlife , a 2007 report by the Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, and Izaak Walton League.
- USDA NRCS CSP main page
- Step-by-step Farmer Guide to Accessing CSP, by the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – ATTRA, with help from NSAC.
- Land Stewardship Project CSP Resource Page
- Organic Farming Research Foundation CSP Resource Page
- Center for Rural Affairs CSP Resource Page
CSP in the media!
Please check out these published CSP commentaries written by NSAC member organizations and allies: Duane Sand, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (September 28, 2009, Des Moines Register); Lisa Kivirist, (September 28, 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel); Bill Gorman and Tom Nuessmeier, Land Stewardship Project (September 19, 2009, St. Cloud Times)