Rhode Island Conservation Stewardship Program

Rhode Island Conservation Stewardship Program

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. 

Through CSP, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides financial and technical assistance to eligible applicants to conserve and enhance soil, water, air, and related natural resources on their land.  CSP is available on Tribal and private agricultural lands, as well as for nonindustrial private forest lands (NIPF) in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas.  The program provides equitable access to all producers, regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. 

Persons, entities, corporations, and Indian Tribes may be eligible for the program.  Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie land, improved pastureland, rangeland, NIPF, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.  

How CSP Works

Potential applicants interested in entering into a stewardship contract for CSP assistance may file an application at any time. 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 agricultural operation, as represented for other USDA programs;
  • Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of 7 CFR Part 12, and adjusted gross income provisions of 7 CFR part 1400;
  • Supply information necessary to determine eligibility and to rank the application. Requested information may include, but is not limited to, conservation and production records, and evidence documenting control of the land.

Applications are evaluated relative to other applications addressing similar priority resource concerns; this facilitates a competitive ranking process among applicants who face similar resource challenges.  Agricultural land will compete in ranking pools separate from NIPF.

To be eligible to participate in the program, the applicants conservation activities on eligible lands must meet or exceed the stewardship threshold, as determined by the Conservation Management Tool (CMT) for at least:

1)      One Resource Concern at the time of the application; and

2)      One Priority Resource Concern:

i)        At the time of application

ii)       By the end of the conservation stewardship contract

Resource concerns include: Air Quality, Animals, Soil Erosion, Soil Quality

Water Quality, Water Quantity, and Energy

Rhode Island Priority Resource Concerns

The geographic area eligible includes the entire State of Rhode Island.

Agricultural Lands

Non Industrial Private Forest

Animals Animals
Plants Plants
Soil Erosion Soil Erosion
Water Quality Water Quality
Water Quantity  

Are You Eligible?  Applicant Pre-Screening

NRCS provides a producer self-screening checklist to help potential applicants decide for themselves whether CSP is the right program for them and their operation.  The checklist focuses on basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, contract obligations, and potential payments

  CSP Producer Self Screening Checklist

Application Materials 

The following documents will have to be completed to apply for CSP:

  NRCS 1200 Conservation Stewardship Application
  CCC-926 Adjusted Gross Income Form
  AD-1026 Conservation Compliance
  CCC-901, Member's Information (for entity and joint operations only)
  FSA 211 Power of Attorney (POA) Form  

Evaluating and Ranking Applications

The conservation measurement tool (CMT) is used to estimate level of environmental benefit to be achieved by an applicant in implementing conservation activities.  The resource inventory and the conservation activities an applicant agrees to apply will enable the CMT to estimate conservation performance improvement levels that assist NRCS in:

  • Determining whether the land treatment eligibility requirement is met;
  • Ranking applications; and
  • Establishing annual payment.

For approved applicants, NRCS will request the applicants’ conservation activity records and conduct on-site field verification to substantiate that CMT resource inventory information provided by the applicant was accurate prior to contract approval.

Conservation Activity Records may include:

  • Soil Testing
  • Pesticide Application Records
  • Nutrient Application Records
  • Grazing Management Records
  • Irrigation Water Management Records

After the conservation system information is verified, NRCS and the applicant proceed to develop a conservation stewardship plan and contract.  The contract will obligate the participant to achieve a higher level of conservation performance by installing additional activities scheduled in the conservation stewardship plan, as well as to maintain the level of existing conservation performance identified at the time of application.

Applicants will be required to schedule one additional Conservation Activity.  These can be in the form of a Conservation Enhancement or implementation of an additional approved conservation practice.

  CSP Conservation Activity List

For a detailed description of the individual Conservation Activities please refer to the Conservation Activity Job Sheets at the link below.

CSP Conservation Activity Job Sheets

CSP Conservation Activity Job Sheet Rhode Island Addendums

NRCS will make payment as soon as practical after October of each fiscal year for contract activities installed and maintained in the previous fiscal year.  A participant’s annual payment is determined using the conservation performance estimated by the CMT and computed by land-use type for enrolled eligible land.  A supplemental payment is also available to a participant receiving an annual payment who adopts a resource-conserving crop rotation. 

Contracts cover the eligible land in the entire agricultural operation and are for five years.  For all contracts entered into, CSP payments to a person or legal entity may not exceed $40,000 in any fiscal year, and $200,000 during any 5-year period.  Each CSP contract will be limited to $200,000 over the term of the initial contract period.

Contact Rhode Island Conservation Stewardship Program

Contact Rhode Island Conservation Stewardship Program

Joseph Bachand
State Program Manager
60 Quaker Lane
Suite 46
Warwick, Rhode Island  02886
Phone: 401-822-8818


Service Area

National Program