Vermont Conservation Stewardship Program

Vermont Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Operators of agricultural land and non-industrial private forest land now have the opportunity to sign up for the new CSP at their local NRCS field office. Sign up is offered on a continuous basis, however, to be considered for the 2010 funding year, operators will need to submit their application very soon, by a date to be determined. Applications received after this to be determined date will be considered for the next enrollment period.

The purpose of the new CSP is to encourage producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional activities and improving, maintaining and managing existing conservation activities.

Where to Begin

Interested applicants should begin by reviewing and completing the CSP Producer Self Screening to determine if the program best meets their needs for all of the land that they control.

In the new CSP, all applicants will need to consider all of the land that they operate, as indicated in the Farm Service Agency records, within their application. All land that the applicant has control of for the term of the contract (five years) must already meet one resource concern in order to be considered eligible for the program. An example of already addressing one resource concern includes not having any readily observable erosion or point sources of contamination such as gullies, manure runoff or pesticide runoff at the farm headquarters, barnyards, manure storage facilities, landing sites, or sugar houses.    

If after completing the self-screening, you feel that your land could be eligible for the program, you should submit your completed and signed application to your local NRCS office and work with the Farm Service Agency to ensure that your farm records are up-to-date.

If you have both agricultural land and nonindustrial private forestland, you will need to submit two separate applications for each land use if you wish to enroll both your agricultural land and your forestland in CSP. According to program requirements, since each land use does not compete against each other in the program's ranking criteria, two applications are needed.

Vermont Non-Industrial Private Forestland criteria for CSP

After you have submitted your full application package to NRCS, a local representative will be contacting you to come into the office and go through the online ranking, also referred to as the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT). This ranking tool will take into account all of the conservation activities that you are already performing on your operation and will provide you with a list of additional activities that you can consider installing through CSP. Those applications with the highest ranking points will be first in line to receive a contract. Applications should be preselected for a contract in late winter or early spring.

If your application is preselected for a contract, you will need to meet with an NRCS representative on your farm to verify that the answers you provided in the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) were accurate. Final contract approval decisions will be made in the spring.

CSP Application Package

CSP Producer Self Screening, (PDF 98 KB)
CSP Fact Sheet, (PDF 98 KB)
CSP Application and contract appendix (NRCS-CPA-1200), (PDF 44KB)

The Conservation Stewardship Program requires applicants to establish records with the Farm Service Agency if they do not have these records established already. Where applicants already have records established with the Farm Service Agency, they will need to ensure that these records are updated.

Farm Service Agency records that need to be established or updated prior to application:

Average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Statement, (PDF 261 KB). This form should be completed for 2010
Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification, (PDF 157 KB)
Members Information, (PDF 235 KB). For entities

CSP State Geographic Areas

With advise from State Technical Committee Members, States are required to select geographic areas within their states where applications within those areas would take priority over other applications that are not within the identified geographic area. The committee has recommended that the entire State of Vermont be its own geographic area for this enrollment cycle.

CSP State Priority Resource Concerns

With advise from State Technical Committee Members, each State has selected a list of priority resource concerns that applicants will either need to agree to address by the end of the contract period or have already addressed at the time of application.

Vermont Priority Resource Concerns for 2009 CSP for Both Agricultural Land and Non-Industrial Private Forestland:

  • Water Quality
  • Soil Quality
  • Soil Erosion

CSP Resource Conserving Crops

With advise from State Technical Committee Members, each State has created a list of resource conserving crops that applicants can incorporate into their cropland acres if they are eligible for, and elect to adopt the Resource Conserving Crop Rotation Enhancement.

Resource Conserving Crop Rotation Job Sheet

Vermont Resource Conserving Crops

1. Perennial grass and / or close growing legume grown for forage, seed, or other conservation purpose:
           - timothy and / or red clover or alfalfa
           - brome and / or red clover or alfalfa
           - orchard grass and / or red clover or alfalfa
           - alfalfa
           - red clover
2. Cover or green manure crop
           - winter rye
           - rye / vetch
           - field peas and oats
           - oats / buckwheat
           - canola
3. High residue crop
           - corn grain
           - small grain only harvested for grain
           - perennial grasses with and without legumes

CSP Payment Ranges

CSP Enhancements

Contact Vermont Conservation Stewardship Program

Contact Vermont Conservation Stewardship Program

Heather Wetzstein
Vermont CSP Coordinator
Phone: 802-951-6796 ext. 223


Service Area

National Program