North Dakota Conservation Stewardship Program

North Dakota 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.

Highlights and Announcements

Program Documents

North Dakota CSP Geographical Areas  (PDF, 285 KB - 8/24/09)
Applications will compete for funding with other applications in their area.
Brochure (PDF; 349 KB)
News Release: 550,000 Acres of Farmland Enrolled in Conservation Program (12/29/09)
CSP Article in ND Water Magazine  (PDF; 834 KB)
New CSP Fact Sheet (PDF, 44KB - 8/7/09)
CSP Interim Final Rule  (PDF, 134KB - 7/29/09)

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.

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.

Conservation Stewardship Program's Contribution to Organic Transitioning - The Organic Crosswalk

The 2008 Farm Bill charged NRCS to "establish a transparent means by which producers may initiate organic certification ... while participating in a contract..."  In doing so, Congress recognized that the stewardship threshold to improve the quality and condition of our natural resources may be met through the National Organic Program (NOP).

Key to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is the use of Conservation Enhancements that provide additional environmental benefit(s).  Of the 80 enhancements from which producers can select, 39 have a high likelihood of adoption by organic producers or those who are interested in transitioning to organic, with an additional 25 enhancements that can be applied during the transition period.  Following is an explanation of how a producer can use CSP Conservation Enhancements to aid them during the "transitioning" period to organic farming. 

The Organic Crosswalk (PDF, 45KB)


The CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands, as well as nonindustrial private forest lands statewide.  Individual producers, legal entities, corporations, and Indian Tribes may be eligible for the program.  Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian Tribe.

Applicants must:

  • Be the operator of record in the USDA farm records management system for the eligible land being offered for enrollment;
  • Have documented control of the land for the term of the proposed contract;
  • Include the eligible land in their entire operation as represented for other USDA programs;
  • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions and adjusted gross income.

2010 Conservation Stewardship Self-Screening Checklist (PDF, 98KB)
2010 Conservation Stewardship Program Activity List (PDF, 98KB) 
2010 Conservation Stewardship Program Application (PDF, 42KB)

2010 Enhancement Activity Job Sheets

Below are links to documents which describe in greater detail the enhancement activities in the Program Activity List.

"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. 

Air Quality  |  Animal  |  Energy  |  Plant  |  Soil Erosion  |  Soil Quality  |  Water Quality  |  Water Quantity  |  Special Projects

Program Payments

The Conservation Stewardship Program offers participants two possible types of payments:

·          Annual Payment – For installing and adopting additional activities, and improving, maintaining, and managing existing activities.

·          Supplemental Payment – For the adoption of resource-conserving crop rotations.

The annual payment limitation for a person or legal entity is $40,000.  A person or legal entity cannot exceed $200,000 for all contracts entered into during any five-year period.

Payment Range Estimates, (PDF, 29KB - 8/17/09)

Contact North Dakota Conservation Stewardship Program

Contact North Dakota Conservation Stewardship Program

Jennifer Heglund
Assistant State Conservationist (Programs)
North Dakota
Phone: 701-530-2095


Service Area

National Program