Sign-up Now for the Conservation Stewardship Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture began accepting sign-ups for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) on August 10, 2009. The sign-up is now continuous, so farmers and ranchers can begin the paperwork anytime. However, USDA announced a September 30 deadline for those who want to be considered for ranking in this fiscal year. Applications can be filed at a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office (
Enrollment for the new CSP is nationwide and the program is not limited to certain watersheds.      

The CSP rewards farmers for maintaining existing conservation practices and for adopting additional practices on cropland, grassland, improved pasture, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland and tribal lands.  A supplemental payment will also be made for those willing to adopt resource conserving crop rotations. This program pays producers for clean water, better soil management, improved habitat, energy efficiency, and other natural resource benefits.

The Center for Rural Affairs has a CSP fact sheet available on their website ( that lists 10 easy steps for farmers to follow in order to participate in the program. The list includes downloadable checklists and a contract application form.

The Center is also encouraging  farmers, ranchers and others to call the Center for Rural Affairs' Farm Bill Helpline to learn more about the program and application process as well as to share information on any barriers farmers or ranchers encounter during the sign-up. Producers can call (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline or send an email to

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