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NCRS gives estimates for CSP payments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) began a continuous sign-up for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) on Aug. 10 in Minnesota.

NRCS administers CSP, a voluntary conservation program designed to encourage agricultural and forestry producers to adopt additional conservation practices and improve, maintain and manage existing ones.

NRCS will make payments as soon as practical after Oct. 1 of each fiscal year, for contract activities carried out in the previous fiscal year.

A participant's annual payment is determined using the conservation performance estimated by the conservation measurement tool, and computed by land-use type for enrolled eligible land.

A supplemental payment is also available on cropland to a participant receiving an annual payment, who also adopts a resource-conserving crop rotation.

To manage funding and meet legislative requirements, NRCS will use the first ranking period as a payment discovery period to arrive at a uniform payment rate per land use conservation performance point.

It is anticipated the information gained will assist in arriving at set payment rates for future years' contracts.

Using enrollment data from the signup, unique conservation performance payment rates will be determined for each land use type after ranking decisions are made.

Pre-approved applicants will be notified of their contract payment amount and given the opportunity to withdraw their application if they find the payment amount unacceptable. Funds from cancelled applications would then be used to preapprove additional applicants in ranked order.

Initial analysis has shown that, under a strict set of assumptions, participants completing contract requirements might receive estimated payments in the range of $12-$22 per acre for cropland; $6-$12 per acre for non-industrial, private forestland; $7-$14 per acre for pastureland; and $12-$16 per acre for conservation crop rotation.

These ranges are based on projections about acreage enrollment and conservation performance, and are only intended as estimates. Any individual's payment level could fall outside these ranges based on the specific level of conservation performance on their operation. Each participant's annual payment on a land use is dependent on a new conservation activity being scheduled and installed on that land use.

If no new conservation activity is applied on a land use, there will be no annual payment for that land use. For more information about the new CSP, please visit the web site, For more information about conservation programs in Minnesota, visit or call the NRCS Detroit Lakes Field Office at 218-847-9392, extension 3.