Conservation Stewardship Program Sign-Up Update: USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service continues to work through the large-volume of applications for the 2009 iteration of the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Contracts are expected to be finalized by January.
Of the 33 million acres worth of applications that came through the door, producers completed the Conservation Measurement Tool (CMT) and were determined eligible on approximately 21 million acres. Of the 21 million acres, 12.8 million acres will be enrolled, with decisions based on producers with the highest ranking scores in the CMT.
NRCS is currently calculating the final payment rates for crop, pasture, and range land. Those rates will then be multiplied by each farmers point total, by land use, from the CMT.
The major ranking process for 2010 sign-ups was originally scheduled for January, but will now almost certainly be delayed by several months as the 2009 contract process is completed. We expect there to be an NRCS announcement in the New Year outlining the 2010 process and explaining program improvements for the 2010 sign-up. Both 2009 and 2010 awardees will receive their first CSP payments in October 2010.