NSAC's Blog

Conservation Stewardship Program 2011 Sign-Up Results

October 17, 2011

USDA committed more than $191 million a year to enroll 12.75 million new acres in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) in fiscal year 2011.  USDA signed 9,630 contracts in 49 states.  Under CSP, farmers and ranchers sign five-year contracts to manage, improve, and increase conservation activities that result in environmental benefits on working land.

With this latest sign up, CSP became the largest long-term USDA conservation program, with over 38 million farm and ranch land acres enrolled across the country.  Over the course of the first three enrollment years, over 30,000 producers are now participating in the program.

Below is a list of contract, acreage, and payment data for states in which payments to contract holders summed to more than $5 million:

Conservation Stewardship Program (FY 2011)

State Number of Contracts Total Treated Acres Dollars Obligated
Minnesota 764 552,156 $16,457,101
Nebraska 569 1,260,005 $13,109,924
North Dakota 336 634,775 $12,661,607
Kansas 458 834,091 $12,602,383
South Dakota 330 868,844 $11,433,655
Oklahoma 590 737,811 $11,115,376
Arkansas 453 413,137 $10,763,237
Iowa 713 368,164 $10,539,389
Georgia 413 263,641 $10,091,492
Montana 270 964,233 $9,175,260
Louisiana 300 304,767 $8,009,324
Colorado 329 800,534 $7,787,737
Missouri 711 349,046 $6,541,113
Mississippi 163 230,498 $5,627,310
New Mexico 101 905,792 $5,313,558
Washington 175 325,463 $5,282,957

Other top 20 states ranked by dollars include Wisconsin with $4.5 million obligated for 254,000 acres, Texas with $4.2 million for 500,000 acres, Oregon with $3.76 million for 311,000 acres, and Illinois with $3.7 million for 173,000 acres.

Other states with high total contract numbers include West Virginia (247), Michigan (186), Alabama (140), South Carolina (133), Pennsylvania (124), Kentucky (108), and Tennessee (101).

The CSP is a comprehensive working lands conservation program that provides technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to actively manage and maintain existing conservation systems and to implement additional conservation activities on land in agricultural production.

Sign-up for CSP is continuous, which means farmers and ranchers anywhere in the country can apply for the CSP any year and at any time of the year.  Periodically during the year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – the agency that administers CSP – ranks applications and then develops contracts with those farmers and ranchers with the highest rankings until funding for that ranking period is completely allocated.

For more information on the Program, visit the CSP page in NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to the 2008 Farm Bill or download the recently updated Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program.

NSAC also recently published a series of blog posts that highlight and analyze data from the program’s first two sign-up periods in 2009 and 2010.  This includes analysis of program participation by geographic region, land use type, commodity type, and the top conservation practices and enhancements chosen by farmers and ranchers who have enrolled in the program.  It explores how the program is working on the ground and takes an important step toward explaining program outcomes beyond a simple accounting of dollars spent or acres enrolled.  Visit our website to view Part I, Part II, and Part III of the series.

Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment

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