Conservation Security Program - Fact Sheet
The Conservation Security Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program
that supports ongoing stewardship of private agricultural lands by providing
payments for maintaining and enhancing natural resources. CSP identifies and
rewards those farmers and ranchers who are meeting the highest standards of
conservation and environmental management on their operations.
CSP provides financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation
and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other
conservation purposes on Tribal and private working lands. Working lands include
cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pasture, and range land, as well as
forested land that is an incidental part of an agriculture operation.
CSP is available in all 50 States, the Caribbean area and the Pacific Basin
area. The program provides equitable access to benefits to all producers,
regardless of size of operation, crops produced, or geographic location.
The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (2002 Farm Bill) (Pub. L.
107-171) amended the Food Security Act of 1985 to authorize the program. CSP is
administered by USDAís Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
CSP will help producers maintain conservation stewardship and implement
additional conservation practices that provide added environmental enhancement,
while creating powerful incentives for other producers to meet those same
standards of conservation performance.
The conservation benefits gained will help farms and ranches be more
environmentally sustainable and will increase the natural resources benefits
provided to all Americans.
How CSP Works
- The CSP sign-up will be offered in selected watersheds across the Nation.
- Producers complete a self-assessment, including description of
conservation activities on their operations, to help determine eligibility for
CSP at this time. The self-assessment is available from: NRCS CSP web page and in
NRCS state offices on compact disk or as a printed workbook.
- Eligible producers in the selected watersheds complete the self-assessment
and schedule an interview to submit an application at their local NRCS office.
- Based on the application, description of current conservation activities,
and the interview, NRCS determines CSP eligibility and in which program tier
and enrollment category the applicant may participate.
The producer and the producerís operation first must meet
the basic eligibility criteria:
- The land must be privately owned or Tribal
land and the majority of the land must be located within one of the selected
- The applicant must be in compliance with highly erodible and wetland
provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985, have an active interest in the
agricultural operation, and have control of the land for the life of the
- The applicant must share in the risk of producing any crop or livestock and
be entitled to a share in the crop or livestock marketed from the operation.
All applicants must meet the following minimum tier eligibility and contract
requirements, plus any additional requirements in the sign-up announcement:
- For Tier I, the producer must have addressed soil quality and water quality
to the described minimum level of treatment for eligible land uses on part of
the agricultural operation prior to acceptance.
- For Tier II, the producer must have addressed soil quality and water
quality to the described minimum level of treatment on all eligible land uses on
the entire agricultural operation prior to acceptance and agree to address one
additional resource by the end of the contract period.
- For Tier III, the producer must have addressed all applicable resource
concerns to a resource management system level that meets the NRCS Field Office
Technical Guide standards on all eligible land uses on the entire agricultural
operation before acceptance into the program and have riparian zones adequately
Soil quality practices include crop rotations, cover crops, tillage
practices, prescribed grazing, and providing adequate wind barriers.
Water quality practices include conservation tillage, filter strips,
terraces, grassed waterways, managed access to water courses, nutrient and
pesticide management, prescribed grazing, and irrigation water management.
CSP Contract Payment
Applicants may submit only one application for each sign-up. Producers who
are participants in an existing conservation stewardship contract are not
eligible to submit another application.
CSP contract payments include one or
more of the following:
- An annual stewardship component for the existing base
level conservation treatment.
- An annual existing practice component for the
maintenance of existing conservation practices.
- An enhancement component for
exceptional conservation effort and additional conservation practices or
activities that provide increased resource benefits beyond the prescribed level.
- A one-time new practice component for additional needed practices.
Enhancements will be made for exceptional conservation effort and additional
conservation practices or activities that provide increased resource benefits
beyond the prescribed level. There are five types of enhancement activities:
- The improvement of a significant resource concern to a condition that exceeds
the requirements for the participantís tier of participation and contract
- An improvement in a priority local resource condition, as
determined by NRCS, such as water quality and wildlife.
- Participation in an
on-farm conservation research, demonstration, or pilot project.
with other producers to implement watershed or regional resource conservation
plans that involve at least 75 percent of the producers in the targeted area.
- Implementation of assessment and evaluation activities relating to practices
included in the conservation security plan, such as water quality sampling at
field edges, drilling monitoring wells and collecting data, and gathering
plant samples for specific analysis.
Total payments are determined by the tier of participation, conservation
treatments completed, and the acres enrolled:
- For Tier I, contracts are for 5 years; maximum payment is $20,000
- For Tier II, contracts are for 5 to 10 years; maximum payment is $35,000
- For Tier III, contracts are for 5 to 10 years; maximum payment is $45,000
This information is available for download and requires
- Fact Sheet (PDF; 50 KB)
< Back to 2005 CSP Information