Conservation Stewardship Program

Through CSP, NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land.

Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest lands,
agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe, and other private agricultural land (including cropped woodland, marshes, and agricultural land used for the production of livestock) on which resource concerns related to agricultural production could be addressed.

Participation in the program is voluntary.


CSP encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land.

The NRCS will make CSP available nationwide on a continuous application basis.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Consult the local telephone directory for location of the NRCS office.

Directories can also be found under the ?contact us? menu at www.nrcs.usda.gov.



Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Multiple Recipients $ 570   2011-12-132013-09-30
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   
$ 0   



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands, as well as nonindustrial private forest lands in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas.

The entire operation must be enrolled and must include all eligible land that will be under the applicant's control for the term of the proposed contract that is operated substantially separate from other operations.

Land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (7 CFR part 1410), a Wetlands Reserve Easement through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and the Conservation Security Program (CFR part 1469) are ineligible for CSP.

Eligibility is limited to ??private?? agricultural land; as such, land that is owned by a Federal, State, or local unit of government, with the exception of agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian Tribe, is ineligible, regardless of the status of the operator.

Additionally, a participant may not receive payment for land used for crop production after February 7, 2014, that had not been planted, considered to be planted, or devoted to crop production for at least four of the six years preceding that date, unless the land was: previously enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program; maintained using long-term rotations, such as hayland in rotation; or incidental to the operation but needed for the efficient management of the operation.

An example of land considered ??incidental to the operation?? that may be eligible for payment is land that had once been used for buildings and is now being used for crop production to square up a cropland field.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.

Individual producers, legal entities, corporations, and Indian Tribes may be eligible for the program.

Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.

As stated in the Federal Register, 1470.6a, Applicants must be the operator of record in the USDA farm records management system for the eligible land being offered for enrollment; have documented control of the land for the term of the proposed contract; include the eligible land in their entire operation as represented for other USDA programs; and be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of 7 CFR Part 12, and adjusted gross income provisions of 7 CFR part 1400.

The applicants operation must also meet a stewardship threshold.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. Individual producers, legal entities, corporations, and Indian Tribes may be eligible for the program. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. As stated in the Federal Register, 1470.6a, Applicants must be the operator of record in the USDA farm records management system for the eligible land being offered for enrollment; have documented control of the land for the term of the proposed contract; include the eligible land in their entire operation as represented for other USDA programs; and be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of 7 CFR Part 12, and adjusted gross income provisions of 7 CFR part 1400. The applicants operation must also meet a stewardship threshold.

Credentials/Documentation

The participant must have control of the land offered for the length of the contract period. NRCS requires all program payments be made by direct deposit unless the participant requests a waiver as described in 31 CFR Part 208.4, paragraph (a). 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

A programmatic environmental assessment has been prepared in association with this rulemaking.

The analysis has determined that there will not be a significant impact to the human environment and as a result an Environmental Impact Statement is not required to be prepared (40 CFR part 1508.13).

An environmental impact assessment is required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program.

Award Procedures

Once applicant and land eligibility are determined, the NRCS field office will assist the producer with completing the resource inventory to determine if the stewardship threshold requirement is met, rank applications, and establish payments. Applicants will be ranked relative to other applicants who face similar resource challenges in State-established ranking pools using ranking scores. For approved applicants, NRCS will conduct on-site field verification to substantiate that conservation activity and production system information represented by the applicant was accurate. After the conservation system information is verified, NRCS and the applicant proceed to develop the conservation stewardship plan and contract. Upon approval, the contract will obligate the participant to achieve a higher level of conservation performance by installing additional activities scheduled in their conservation stewardship plan and to maintain the level of existing conservation performance identified at the time of application.

Deadlines

Contact the headquarters or regional office, as appropriate, for application deadlines.

Authorization

Title XII, subtitle D, chapter 2, subchapter B of the Food Security Act of 1985, as added by Section 2301 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-246. Section 2101 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 re-authorized the Stewardship Program and made minor adjustments to its administration., 16 U.S.C 3838d-3838g.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 60 to 90 days.

Appeals

A participant may obtain administrative review in accordance with 7 CFR parts 11 and 614 for an adverse decision. Participants cannot appeal payment rates, payment limits, and cost-share percentages, eligible conservation practices, or other matters of general applicability. Before a participant can seek judicial review, the participant must exhaust all administrative appeal procedures.

Renewals

At the end of an initial conservation stewardship contract, NRCS will allow a participant to renew the contract to receive payments for one additional five year period, subject to the availability of funds. To be considered for contract renewal, the participant must be in compliance with the terms of their initial contract as determined by NRCS; add any newly acquired eligible land that is part of the agricultural operation and meets minimum treatment criteria as established and determined by NRCS; meet stewardship thresholds for additional priority resource concerns as determined by NRCS; and agree to adopt conservation activities as determined by NRCS.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Subject to the availability of funds, NRCS will offer participants two potential types of payment. As outlined in 1470.24 (a) , an annual payment will be made for installing and adopting additional conservation activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities. A supplemental payment can also be made to a participant receiving annual payments, who also agrees to adopt a resource-conserving crop rotation. Matching requirements are not applicable to this program. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

NRCS will make payments as soon as practicable after October 1 of each fiscal year for activities carried out in the previous fiscal year. CSP payments to a person or legal entity may not exceed $40,000 in any year and $200,000 during any 5-year period. Each CSP contract will be limited to $200,000 over the term of the initial contract period. The above limitations exclude funding arrangements with federally recognized Indian tribes or Alaska Native corporations. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Program reports are not applicable.

Cash reports are not applicable.

The Designated Conservationist will review contract implementation with the participant annually.

Annual reviews will be completed early enough in the year to allow for completion of any necessary corrective actions prior to issuance of the annual payment.

Expenditure reports are not applicable.

Performance monitoring is not applicable.

Audits

In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503. Recipients are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Records

As stipulated in 1470.6 (a), the applicant must make available to NRCS upon request appropriate records documenting applied conservation activity and production system information. NRCS will request records when conducting field verification with pre-approved applicants. The designated conservationist does not need to collect, store, or re-calculate the data contained in the applicant?s records, but instead will examine the field conditions and records to determine whether or not they substantiate the resource inventory information provided by the applicant during the application process.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1004-0-1-302.

Obigations

(Salaries) FY 16 $237,509,000; FY 17 est $309,631,000; and FY 18 est $305,276,000. (Cooperative Agreements) FY 16 $891,786,000; FY 17 est $1,211,750,000; and FY 18 est $1,091,342,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

CSP payments to a person or legal entity may not exceed $40,000 in any year and $200,000 during any 5-year period. Each CSP contract will be limited to $200,000 over the term of the initial contract period. The above limitations exclude funding arrangements with federally recognized Indian tribes or Alaska Native corporations as described in 1470.24. The program shall have a national average rate of $18 per acre.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Congress authorized the enrollment of an additional 10,000,000 acres for each fiscal year (FY) for the period beginning February 7, 2014, and ending on September 30, 2022.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. Consult the local telephone directory for location of the NRCS office. Directories can also be found under the ?contact us? menu at www.nrcs.usda.gov.

Headquarters Office

Jack Lewis 1400 Independence Ave, SW , Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: jack.lewis@ga.usda.gov Phone: 706-546-2036

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

All applications which meet the sign-up criteria will be placed in an enrollment category until field verification against records is made, upon which applications will be funded in priority order until the available funds are exhausted.



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