NSAC's Blog

Sign Up For CSP By Friday, March 13!

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

The initial process to sign up is easy. You just go to your local NRCS office and submit the initial application to enroll, which is a simple form.

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.

Resources Available

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has issued two free resources to help farmers and ranchers sign up for the program:

  • a new, updated version of its CSP Information Alert, with step-by-step sign-up and enrollment details, as well as a list of conservation options ranked by conservation and environmental benefit and
  • a comprehensive Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program. The new Farmers’ Guide includes step-by-step enrollment guidance, key definitions, full explanations of the ranking and payment system, and helpful hints for accessing the program now that it has been revised by the 2014 Farm Bill. It also includes a detailed look at the program’s use under the 2008 Farm Bill (from 2009 through 2013).

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)

NSAC Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program (PDF)

NRCS CSP Program Page

Not sure if CSP is right for you? Check out NRCS’ Producer Self-Screening Checklist (PDF).

Categories: Conservation, Energy & Environment, Farm Bill, Grants and Programs

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