Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
Max Award: $40,000 annually and $200,000 for the five-year contract life (Indian tribes and Alaska Native corporations do not have a limit)
Big Idea: The Conservation Stewardship Program helps producers carry out activities that conserve or improve the quality of natural resources on their land, such as soil, water, air and wildlife. The program shares the costs of implementing existing or new conservation activities in a comprehensive manner. The sale of "locally grown and marketed farm products" is considered a conservation enhancement under this program.
Who can apply: Owners or operators of agricultural lands
Real Examples: Joe and Teri Bertotti are a multi-generation ranching family in Janesville, Calif., located in the Northeastern corridor of the State. Together with their sons Andrew and Daniel, the Bertottis own a grass-fed beef operation and sell various cuts of beef at their local farmer's market. The Bertotti's are firm believers in conservation and sustainability in an effort to keep the land in better condition from when they first settled it. Through CSP they have made numerous enhancements on their ranch, including installing wildlife escape ramps for troughs, managing livestock access on streams, creating windbreak and shelterbelts and using renewable energy.
Possibilities: The program has 97 individual enhancements including:
- The sale of locally grown and marketed farm products;
- Transitioning to organic production and certification;
- Conducting on-farm energy audits;
- Establishing pollinator habitat.
Get more information: For more program information, please visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)'s Conservation Stewardship Program page, and to apply for any USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service program contact your state or local office.