USDA has issued an estimate of $12 to $22 per acre of cropland and $7 to $14 an acre of pastureland as the ranges that the Natural Resources Conservation Service might issue annually to those who contract to participate in the new Conservation Stewardship Program. CSP sign-up is open now through Sept. 30, with the program's interim-final-rule public comment period open until Sept. 28.
In a statement, NRCS says the payment ranges are based on projections about acreage enrollment and conservation performance, and are only intended as estimates.
To manage funding and meet legislative requirements, the agency says it will use enrollment data from the sign-up and the program's first ranking period as a payment-discovery period to arrive at a uniform payment rate per land-use conservation performance point. NRCS anticipates that discovery-period data will assist in determining set payment rates for future contracts.
The agency has posted several documents on its Web site nrcs.usda.gov to explain CSP.