USDA announces application deadline for CSP classic

The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) classic applications to be considered for funding this fiscal year is May 29, 2020.

Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages adoption of new technologies and management techniques.

“CSP continues to be a very effective tool for private landowners working to achieve their conservation and management goals,” said Roylene Comes At Night, NRCS state conservationist in Washington. “It is the largest conservation program in the United States with more than 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled.”

Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorize NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from now until 2023 and makes some improvements to the program. These updates include:

  • NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres.
  • Higher payment rates are now available under the 2018 Farm Bill for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations.
  • Provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities and a special grassland conservation initiative for certain producers who have maintained cropland base acres.

While CSP classic applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should complete their Farm Service Agency (FSA) eligibility requirements and submit applications and required items below to their local NRCS office by the deadline date to become an eligible application to be considered for 2020 funding.

Applicants must:

  • Control or own eligible land;
  • Comply with adjusted gross income limitation (AGI) provisions;
  • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements;
  • Develop an NRCS CSP plan of operations;
  • Provide a map(s) that identifies and delineates the boundaries of all eligible land uses and acres included in the operation; and
  • Identify any ineligible land that is part of the operation as described above.

CSP is offered in Washington through continuous sign-ups. The program provides many benefits including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather extremes. CSP is for working lands including cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe.

For additional information about CSP, contact your local service center. USDA Service Centers are open for business by phone appointment only, and fieldwork will continue with appropriate social distancing. While program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be working with producers by phone and using online tools whenever possible. All service center visitors wishing to conduct business with NRCS, FSA or any other service center agency are required to call their Service Center to schedule a phone appointment. More information can be found at