NM Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service of New Mexico

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Anticipated deadline: May 29, 2021

Grant amount: US $7,500 - US $200,000

Fields of work: Farms & Farming

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

Funding uses: Project / Program

Location of project: New Mexico

Location of residency: New Mexico

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

The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner. CSP helps producers build on their current conservation efforts and can assist producers improve grazing conditions, increase crop yields, reduce production expenses and improve scenic and wildlife values of the land.

CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands and on non-industrial private forest land in all 50 States, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas. The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location.

How Does CSP Work?

Most of the agriculture and forestry producers who are approved to participate in CSP have already been implementing conservation practices on their land. CSP takes those practices to a higher level with enhancements and bundles. For example, if you have been practicing prescribed grazing to manage forage for livestock, CSP would give you options to enhance that practice with activities, such as, grazing management to improve plants for wildlife, or grazing management to reduce soil compaction, or grazing management to improve riparian function, to name a few.

If you decide to enroll in CSP, the local NRCS conservation planner will discuss with you the production practices of the operation and the natural resources on your land. Then the NRCS conservation planner will assist you to identify the activities needed to meet the stewardship thresholds and the alternatives that will help you meet your management goals.

CSP offers annual incentive payments for installing the activities that you have chosen and that best fit your operation. If you want to take it even a step further, CSP also offers bundles where you can select a suite of enhancements and receive a higher payment.

Once your operation has been evaluated, is found eligible for CSP, and you have chosen the conservation activities you will adopt, your application will be ranked to determine how well your current and future management system will address national, state, and local natural resource priorities. Your application will be rated against other eligible applications that have similar resource challenges, with the highest scoring applications selected first.

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. Each conservation stewardship contract with a person or legal entity will be limited to $40,000 per fiscal year and $200,000 over the term of the initial contract period.

Joint operations (partnerships and joint ventures) have higher payment limits that allows each member of the partnership/joint venture to receive a maximum of $40,000 per fiscal year and up to $200,000 over the term of the initial contract period.

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


  • Are you eligible?
    • CSP is available to all producers, regardless of operation size or type of crops produced.
    • Applicants must have a tax identification number, either a social security number or TIN/EIN from the IRS.
    • Applicants must be in compliance with USDA highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements, adjusted gross income requirement and have current farm records with USDA Farm Service Agency. 
    • Applicants must have effective control of the land for the term of the proposed contract, be actively engaged in the day-to-day management of the operation and share in the risks associated with production.
  • Is your land eligible?
    • Private or Tribal land is eligible. Land that is enrolled in ALE, FRPP or GRP conservation easement or a GRP rental agreement are also eligible.
    • Eligible land must be private cropland, pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland, associated agricultural land, and farmsteads. 
    • All eligible land in the operation that you will control for the 5 year term of the CSP contract must be included in the application.