March 9, 2015
The deadline to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for 2015 ends on Friday, March 13! Applications can be submitted to your local Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office at any time throughout the year, but if you miss the March 13 cutoff, then your application won’t be considered until 2016.
What is CSP?
CSP is an innovative program for working farms and ranches, built on the belief that we must enhance natural resource and environmental protection as we simultaneously produce profitable food, fiber, and energy. By providing comprehensive, whole farm conservation assistance, CSP offers farmers the opportunity to earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities – such as cover cropping, rotational grazing, diversified crop rotations, ecologically-based pest management, forest and range health management, conservation buffer strips, conservation tillage, and the transition to organic cropping or grazing systems – while they work their lands for production.
How to Enroll
If you are applying as an entity (i.e. a business, not an individual), then you must have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, which you can easily obtain for free online. In order to be able to receive CSP payments, you must also be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM). If you are applying as an individual and use your social security number as your Employer Identification Number (EIN), then you do not need to obtain a DUNS number or register with SAM.
That information must be submitted to NRCS by March 13. After that, NRCS will contact you to come into the office and work through the rest of the enrollment process.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has issued two free resources to help farmers and ranchers sign up for the program:
Both resources are available for free download on the NSAC website.
Time to Renew, Too!
If you received a CSP contract in 2011, then it is time for you to act too! NRCS will send out letters to those contract holders about the opportunity to renew your contract for another five-year period. Renewal applications must be received by March 31 to ensure a seamless transition into your next contract without a lapse in payments. If you have not yet received a letter, contact your local NRCS office.
NSAC Information Alert for the 2015 CSP Sign Up (PDF)
NRCS CSP Program Page
Not sure if CSP is right for you? Check out NRCS’ Producer Self-Screening Checklist (PDF).