Application Deadline for 2016 Conservation Stewardship Program is March 31

Taylor Hillman Environment

Agriculture Farm in California
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making available $150 million this year through the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), and private landowners interested in participating are encouraged to get their applications in soon.

Although applications are accepted all year, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners should submit applications by March 31, 2016, to ensure they are considered for this year’s funding. Applications received after that date will be considered for future funding.

“CSP is a great option for farmers and ranchers who are already doing a good job of managing water and erosion and want to expand their stewardship,” said NRCS Assistant State Conservationist Alan Forkey. “For example, there are incentives to improve the health of your soil, the health of forests, or the needs of pollinators.” said Forkey.  “We invite producers to visit with us regarding these and many other conservation improvements that can be supported through CSP.”

Through CSP, participants take additional conservation steps to improve the resource conditions on their land, including soil, air and habitat quality, water quality and quantity, and energy conservation.  The 2016 CSP sign-up offers many enhancements beneficial to California producers’ stewardship goals. CSP enhancements address forest production and wildlife habitat, soil health on all land uses and migratory and shorebird habitat on rice operations.

From fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2015 NRCS has enrolled more than 1.4 million acres in California. Participants with existing CSP contracts that will expire on Dec.31, 2016, have the option to renew their contracts for an additional five years if they agree to adopt additional activities to achieve higher levels of conservation on their lands. Applications to renew are also due by March 31.

Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners interested in submitting applications for CSP should make an appointment with the local NRCS conservationist to complete a resource inventory of their land to determine the conservation performance for existing and new conservation activities. This information will be used to establish program eligibility, rank applications, and calculate payments.

Landowners may also use a CSP self-screening checklist to determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements, and payment types.

A detailed CSP program description and application for producers are available at:

For more on technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit or a local USDA service center.