MD Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service of Maryland

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Grant amount: More than US $7,500

Anticipated deadline: May 10, 2020

Applicant type: Working Professional Indigenous Group For-Profit Business College / University Nonprofit

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: Maryland

Location of residency: Maryland

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Conservation Stewardship Program

Have you ever looked across your property and thought about some land management goals you would like to take to the next level? Maybe we can help.

No one knows more about your land than you do, and no one knows more about conservation than we do. Together we can develop a plan tailored to your land and your goals to help you increase productivity and protect the value of your land.

Our Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) helps you build on your existing conservation efforts while strengthening your operation. Whether you are looking to improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, or develop wildlife habitat, we can custom design a CSP plan to help you meet those goals. We can help you schedule timely planting of cover crops, develop a grazing plan that will improve your forage base, implement no-till to reduce erosion or manage forested areas in a way that benefits wildlife habitat. If you are already taking steps to improve the condition of the land, chances are CSP can help you find new ways to meet your goals.

Sustainable Production

CSP is for working lands. It is the largest conservation program in the United States with 70 million acres of productive agricultural and forest land enrolled in CSP. Thousands of people that have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation. 

CSP participants are seeing real results. Some of these benefits include: 

  • Improved cattle gains per acre; 
  • Increased crop yields;
  • Decreased inputs;
  • Wildlife population improvements; and
  • Better resilience to weather extremes.

Through CSP, we can help you build your business while implementing conservation practices that help ensure the sustainability of your entire operation. Good land stewardship not only conserves the natural resources on your farm, ranch or forest, it also provides multiple benefits to local communities, including better water and air quality and wildlife habitat, as well as food and fiber.

Program Description

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) presents a significant shift in how the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides conservation program payments. CSP participants will receive an annual land use payment for operation-level environmental benefits they produce. Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance: the higher the operational performance, the higher their payment.  

CSP is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by:  

  • Undertaking additional conservation activities; and  
  • Improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.

How CSP Works

CSP encourages land stewards to improve their conservation performance by installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities on agricultural land and nonindustrial private forest land. NRCS accepts applications for CSP at local service centers, Nationwide, on a continuous basis. 

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee and local work groups, will focus program impacts on natural resources that are of specific concern for a State, or specific geographic areas within a State. Applications will be evaluated relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns to facilitate a competitive ranking process among applicants within a State who face similar resource challenges. 

The entire operation must be enrolled and must include all eligible land operated substantially separate that will be under the applicant's control for the term of the proposed contract. 


CSP offers participants two possible types of payments: 

  • Annual payment for installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities, and 
  • Supplemental payment for the adoption of resource-conserving crop rotations.

Maryland Priority Resource Concerns

  • Air Quality;
  • Soil Erosion;
  • Soil Quality;
  • Water Quality; and
  • Water Quantity.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.
  • Eligible Lands
    • Through CSP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to eligible producers to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land. 
      • Crop; 
      • Pasture;
      • Range;
      • Nonindustrial Private Forest;
      • Agricultural Land Under the Jurisdiction of an Native American Tribe or Tribal Nation; and
      • And other Private Agricultural Land (including Cropped Woodland, Marshes, and Agricultural Land used for the Production of Livestock) on which Resource Concerns Related to Agricultural Production Could be Addressed.