Conservation Stewardship Program application deadline is February 3

SDSU Extension
Farm Forum

BROOKINGS — Feb. 3 is the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) deadline to apply for Fiscal Year 2017. Since signup is continuous, ag producers can visit their local USDA Service Center to submit an application. However, applications not submitted before this deadline will have to wait until FY2018 for their application to be considered.

“Through CSP, agricultural producers and forest landowners earn payments for actively managing, maintaining, and expanding conservation activities like cover crops, rotational grazing, ecologically-based pest management, buffer strips and pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, all while maintaining active agricultural production on their land,” said David Kringen, SDSU Extension water resources field specialist.

New tools added to the 2017 CSP program

The USDA Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is the largest working lands conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled. “South Dakota has led the Nation in number of acres enrolled in the CSP,” says NRCS CSP Coordinator Jessica Michalski.

The CSP is administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Michalski says, “New tools were added to the program this year to assess farmers’ eligibility and rank applications; minimum contract payment information; added flexibility for mid-contract changes; expanded options for enhancements, practices, and bundles of practices; and a redesigned payment structure.”

More about CSP

CSP participants voluntarily enroll their entire agriculture operation in the program under a 5-year contract, with the option to renew for another 5 years.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps producers maintain or improve the existing conservation activities on their operations and adopt new ones.

“The program offers greater incentives for producers who want to kick their conservation up a notch with bundles of enhancements with higher payment rates,” Kringen said.

Additional information about the Conservation Stewardship Program can be found at

A free downloadable publication entitled A Farmers’ Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program, prepared by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), can also be found at