The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps landowners build on existing conservation efforts while strengthening their operation. Whether landowners are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, or develop wildlife habitat, NRCS can custom design a CSP plan to help landowners meet their goals. NRCS can help schedule timely planting of cover crops, develop a grazing plan that will improve forage base, implement no-till to reduce erosion or manage forested areas in a way that benefits wildlife habitat. CSP can help find new ways to meet these goals even if landowners are already taking steps to improve the condition of their land.

Types of Practices: CSP can help fund practices to enhance conservation efforts, including conservation cover, conservation crop rotation, residue & tillage management (no till and reduced till), cover crops, field borders, riparian herbaceous cover/forest buffer, filter strips, livestock access control, forage & biomass planting, nutrient management, wildlife habitat management and many more.

Eligibility:  CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced. Applicants may include individuals, legal entities, and joint ventures operating production agricultural land or non-industrial private forest land (NIPF).

To participate in CSP, you must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements, and have current farm records with USDA Farm Service Agency. You must have effective control of the land for the term of the proposed contract, be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the operation and share in the risks associated with production. Additional program requirements may apply.

Is your land eligible? Your application must include all agricultural or private forest land in your operation that you will control for the 5 year term of the CSP contract. Farm records must be established with the Farm Service Agency for these lands for your application to be evaluated.

Additional Info

Land eligible for wetland reserve easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.  NRCS will prioritize applications based on the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.  To enroll land through wetland reserve easements, NRCS enters into purchase agreements with eligible private landowners or Indian tribes that include the right for NRCS to develop and implement a wetland reserve restoration easement plan.  This plan restores, protects and enhances the wetland’s functions and values.

You should be prepared to identify all land in your operation on maps with an NRCS representative. The maps will help you and NRCS determine land eligible for enrollment, payment, and if you have one or more operations to offer for enrollment. Eligible land includes private cropland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland, associated agricultural land, and farmsteads.

Do you meet required stewardship thresholds? You must be meeting the stewardship threshold for at least two resource concerns on each land management system at the time of application. You must also agree to address one additional resource concern for each land use by the end of the contract to be considered eligible.

Contacts:

Local:

  • Clermont/Brown Counties: District Conservationist 513.732.2191 ext 102
  • Highland County:  Resource Conservationist 937.393.1922
  • Clinton County:  District Conservationist 937.382.2461

State:

  • Assistant State Conservationist for Natural Resources 644.255.2502

Agency:  Natural Resources Conservation Service

Program Website:  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/oh/programs/easements/acep/