Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Incentive Programs

Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) | United States Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

Country
United States

Region
Midwest

Land Use / Land Cover
General Agriculture

Agency Type
Federal

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Monarchs, Pollinators

Publication Type
Report, Website/web hub

Original Language
English

Years of Implementation
at least through FY2018, Ongoing

These resources provide information regarding an incentive identified in the report Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project, of the USDA NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) (USDA NRCS 2015a). CSP is also identified as a federal incentive contributing to pollinator conservation, by Stine et al. (2015). CSP is recommended in the Midwest subregion, though to a lesser degree than other incentive programs (USDA NRCS 2015a).

This program is available to landowners producing agricultural commodities, livestock and forest products on cropland, grassland, rangeland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest, or agricultural lands like cropped woodlands or marshes. The NRCS provides direct financial payments and technical assistance to landowners who implement approved conservation practices on new or existing projects that improve soil, air, water, or habitat quality. Annual payments contribute to new conservation projects or maintenance of existing projects.

This program also supports supplemental payments for beneficial crop rotation. In 2015, a monarch-specific supplement was included. In 2016, a monarch-specific habitat enhancement is also available (Stine et al. 2015). Unlike some federal incentive programs, CSP does not strictly provide an area or percentage-based financial incentive. Instead, annual payments for conservation practices are based on performance.

Funded practices include both additional and existing activities, based on the formula: “Annual Land Use Payments = Land Use Acres X Performance Points (additional or existing) X Land Use Payment Rate”

In 2015, payment rates for pasture were US$0.31870/point (additional activity) and US$0.02490/point (existing activity).

For rangeland, payment rates were US$0.12499/point additional activity) and US$0.00990/point (existing activity) (USDA NRCS 2015b). Contracts are for 5-year increments, with potential for renewal. Private landowners who are actively farming and who meet additional eligibility requirements may apply to this program. At minimum, two priority resource concerns must be met (water quality, water quantity, soil quality, plants and animals) at the time of application, with an agreement to meet or exceed a stewardship threshold for another priority resource concern by the contract’s end.

A producer may receive no more than US$40,000 annually or US$200,000 between FY2014–2018 (USDA NRCS 2015c).

  • Stine, A., M. Vaughan, N. Adamson, K. Gill, E. Mäder, C. Shrader, P.J. Barbour, and H. Henry. 2015. Using 2014 Farm Bill Programs for Pollinator Conservation. US Department of Agriculture Biology Technical Note No. 78, 2nd Ed.
  • US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). 2015a. Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture. 14 pp.
  • US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). 2015b. Payment for Performance: CSP. nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/wv/home/?cid=stelprdb1239749.
  • US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS). 2015c. Conservation Stewardship Program. nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/csp/.

Amount of the Incentive
Annual payments for conservation practices are based on performance (point system). In 2015, payment rates for pasture were US$0.31870, point (additional activity) and US$0.02490, point (existing activity). For rangeland, payment rates were US$0.12499, point additional activity) and US$0.00990, point (existing activity).

Related Institutional Objectives or Targets
Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project, US Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill)

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