Conservation Security Program

The CSP sets forth a mechanism to provide financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes on Tribal and private working lands.

Working lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land,
improved pasture, and range land, as well as forested land that is an incidental part of an agriculture operation.

The goal of CSP is to identify and reward those farmers and ranchers who are meeting the highest standards of conservation and environmental management on their operations and to support ongoing stewardship of private agricultural lands by providing payments for maintaining and enhancing natural resources.


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Consult the local telephone directory for location of the NRCS office.

If no listing, contact the appropriate State NRCS office listed in the NRCS Section of Appendix IV.

the Catalog.


Program Accomplishments

Contract numbers and acres by year: 2006 - 4,323 contracts covering 3,648,100 acres; 2007 - No sign-up.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Eligible applicants may offer eligible land on a portion of their agricultural operation to enter into a five year contract, or entire agricultural operation for a five to ten year contract.

Subject to the acceptance of an offer by the Federal Government, the participant shall agree to participate as outlined in the CSP stewardship plan and contract.

The contract will include appropriate stewardship, new practice, existing practice, and enhancement payments.

Subject to the availability of funds, CCC will make stewardship, existing practice, new practice or enhancement payments at the rates specified in this contract after a determination by CCC than an eligible practice or activity has been established in compliance with the CSP plan of operations and in accordance with appropriate standards and specifications.



Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

An individual producer, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, other business or other legal entities controlling eligible lands.

The term producer means an owner, operator, landlord, tenant or sharecropper that shares in the risk of producing any crop or livestock; and must be entitled to share in the crop or livestock available for marketing from an agricultural operation.

An applicant must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions, and average adjusted gross income requirements.

Lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, the Grassland Reserve Program pursuant to 16 U.S.C.

3838n, public land including land owned by a Federal, State or local unit of government are not eligible for enrollment in CSP and may not receive CSP payments.

Beneficiary Eligibility

An individual producer, partnership, association, corporation, estate, trust, other business or other legal entities controlling eligible lands. The term producer means and owner, operator, landlord, tenant or sharecropper that shares in the risk of producing any crop or livestock; and must be entitled to share in the crop or livestock available for marketing from an agricultural operation. A participant must be in compliance with highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions, and average adjusted gross income requirements. Lands enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, the Grassland Reserve Program pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 3838n, public land including land owned by a Federal, State or local unit of government are not eligible for enrollment in CSP and may not receive CSP payments.

Credentials/Documentation

The participant must have control of the land offered for the length of the contract period. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

An environmental impact assessment has been prepared for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

Conduct a CSP self-assessment and benchmark condition inventory, and submit an intention to enroll to the local NRCS office that serves the area in which the agricultural operation is located during the designated sign-up period. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular Nos. A-102 and A-110.

Award Procedures

All applications which meet the sign-up criteria within the priority watersheds will be placed in an enrollment category regardless of available funding. Enrollment categories and subcategories will be funded in priority order until the available funds are exhausted.

Deadlines

NRCS will publish a CSP sign-up notice with a schedule for the sign-up process, including the deadline(s) for applying. At the beginning of each sign-up, the Chief will announce the order in which categories and subcategories are eligible to be funded.

Authorization

Food Security Act of 1985, Title XII, Chapter 2, Subchapter A, of the Food Security Act of 1985, 16 U.S.C. 3801 et seq., Public Law 99-198, as amended by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, enacted on May 13, 2002, Public Law 107-171.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

From 60 to 180 days after the application is filed with the NRCS.

Appeals

An applicant or a participant may obtain administrative review of an adverse decision. Participants cannot appeal payment rates, payment limits, and cost-share percentages, eligible conservation practices, or other matters of general applicability. Before a participant can seek judicial review, the participant must exhaust all administrative appeal procedures.

Renewals

The conservation security contract may be renewed, as appropriate, for an additional period of not less than 5, nor more than 10 years.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Payments may have as many as four components including a base conservation stewardship payment, existing practice payment, new practice cost-share payment, and enhancement payment. Payments will be made as described in the contract in return for the implementation and/or maintenance of a specified level of conservation treatment on all or part of the agricultural operation.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

The schedule of payments will be specified in the conservation stewardship contract based on calculations identified in the rule and sign up notice.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

None.

Audits

Recipients are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Records

Records will be maintained by the participant, as appropriate and in the county NRCS office, State NRCS office and Federal Record Centers for the length of the agreement.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1004-0-1-302.

Obigations

(Direct Payments) FY 07 $235,960,000; FY 08 est $287,752,900; and FY 09 est not reported. (Salaries and Expenses) FY 07 $23,310,000; FY 08 est $28,459,100; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The program is announced through news media, local conservation districts, and in letters to agricultural landowners in the county. Regulations published in the Federal Register and 7 CFR XIV.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Consult the local telephone directory for location of the NRCS office. If no listing, contact the appropriate State NRCS office listed in the NRCS Section of Appendix IV. the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Dwayne Howard, Branch Chief, Stewardship Programs Branch, Financial Assistance Programs Division, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture, PO Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013. Telephone: (202) 720-3524.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

All applications which meet the sign-up criteria within the priority watersheds will be placed in an enrollment category regardless of available funding. Enrollment categories and subcategories will be funded in priority order until the available funds are exhausted.



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