Illinois Conservation Stewardship Program

Illinois Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)


The Conservation Stewardship Program (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.

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

Legal Authority

Section 2301 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 amended the Food Security Act of 1985 to establish the Conservation Stewardship Program.

Program Description

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. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, Non-Industrial Private Forest lands (NIPF), agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe, 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. Participation in the program is voluntary.

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. The NRCS will make CSP available nationwide on a continuous application basis.

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

CSP offers participants two possible types of payments :

  1. Annual payment for installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities
  2. Supplemental payment for the adoption of resource conserving crop rotation

Producer Self-Screening Checklist

Producers can review and complete the Producer Self-Screening Checklist to determine whether the Conservation Stewardship Program is right for them. Producers can take a copy of this form, along with maps of their agricultural operation and call ahead for an appointment with their local district conservationist.

Enhancement Activity

"Enhancement" means a type of conservation activity used to treat natural resources and improve conservation performance. Enhancements are installed at a level of management intensity that exceeds the sustainable level for a given resource concern, and those directly related to a practice standard are applied in a manner that exceeds the minimum treatment requirements of the standard.

Enhancements Available for Organic and Transitioning to Organic Farming

Operators that are organic farmers or interested in transitioning to organic farming can also benefit in CSP! There are 39 enhancements available specifically for those interested in organic production and also wish to improve the quality and condition of our natural resources. See the Conservation Stewardship Program's Contribution to Organic Transitioning to provide more information regarding the available CSP enhancements.

More Information

Conservation Stewardship Program Fact Sheet (WORD 131kb)
Illinois 2009 CSP Geographical Areas (PDF 664kb)
Illinois 2009 CSP List of Resource Conserving Crops (PDF 19kb)

2009 Enhancement Activity Job Sheets

Additional National Enhancements include Air Quality, Water Quantity and Special Projects

Illinois Priority Resource Concerns

For Ag Land For Non-Industrial Private Forest (NIPF)
Water Quality Water Quality
Soil Erosion Soil Quality
Energy Soil Erosion
Animals (domestic & wildlife) Animals (domestic & wildlife)
Soil Quality Plants

Steps to CSP:

Step 1: Complete Producer Self-Screening checklist
Step 2: Contact your local NRCS office for an appointment and bring your screening checklist
Step 3: Applicants will complete Resource Inventory questions with local field office staff
Step 4: NRCS ranks applications and schedules activities through the Ag Lands or NIPF Conservation Measurement Tool
Step 5: Applications are selected for funding
Step 6: Rankings are field verified
Step 7: Contracts are developed
Step 8: Activities are field verified and payments are made

Contact Illinois Conservation Stewardship Program



Service Area

National Program