MT Conservation Stewardship Grant Program

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service of Montana


Grant amount: More than US $7,500

Anticipated deadline: Mar 2, 2019

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

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Montana

Location of residency: Montana

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Overview:

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 have made the choice to voluntarily enroll in the program because it helps them enhance natural resources and improve their business operation. 

Some of the benefits include:

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

Through CSP, we can help 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.

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 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 the State, or specific geographic areas within the 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 Contracts

The program represents a genuine commitment to conservation – CSP contracts are for five years, with the option to renew if you successfully fulfill the initial contract and agree to achieve additional conservation objectives. An NRCS conservation planner will work closely with you throughout the entire process.

Contract payments are based on two components:

  • payments to maintain the existing conservation based on the operation type and number of resource concerns that are meeting the stewardship level at the time of application and
  • payments to implement additional conservation activities.

All CSP contracts will have a minimum annual payment of $1500. 

Targeted Resource Concerns for Montana

  • Degraded Plant Condition
  • Fish and Wildlife – Inadequate Habitat
  • Soil Erosion
  • Soil Quality Degradation
  • Water Quality Degradation

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

Eligibility:

  • CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land.
  • The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. 
  • Eligible lands include private and Tribal agricultural lands, cropland, grassland, pastureland, rangeland and nonindustrial private forest land.