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.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Active
Program Number
10.921
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Natural Resources Conservation Service
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
DIRECT PAYMENTS FOR A SPECIFIED USE
Program Accomplishments
Not Applicable.
Authorization
Authority: Title XII, subtitle D, chapter 2, subchapter A of the Food Security Act of 1985, 16
U.S.C. 3838-3838c, as added by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, Pub.L.
107-171, as amended by Section 2301 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, Pub. L. 110-246. The Agricultural Act of 2014 did not make any changes to the authority for NRCS to continue to make payments on existing Security contracts entered into prior to FY 2009.
, Executive Order Executive Order, Title XII, Part Chapter 2, Section Subchapter A, Public Law 99-198, 16 U.S.C 3801et.seq.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Applicants must have applied prior to Oct. 1, 2008. 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. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact assessment is required for this program. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.
Application Procedure
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. 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.
Award Procedure
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
Not Applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision 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.
How are proposals selected?
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.
How may assistance be used?
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.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Reporting
No reports are required.
Auditing
This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements. 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.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formulas are not applicable to this program.
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.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
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. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices. 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
Leah Ricke 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20050 Email: Leah.Riche@wdc.usda.gov Phone: (202) 720-6700
Website Address
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/
Financial Information
Account Identification
12-1004-0-1-302.
Obligations
(Salaries) FY 14 $5,225,000; FY 15 est $7,324,000; and FY 16 est $640,000. (Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 14 $115,186,000; FY 15 est $20,975,000; and FY 16 est $8,360,000
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.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not Applicable.