NB_300_19_26 - NB 300-19-26 LTP – Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Participants With Unexpired 2014 Contracts Applying for Consideration as New in FY 2019
NB 300-19-26 LTP – Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Participants With Unexpired 2014 Contracts Applying for Consideration as New in FY 2019
National Bulletin: 300-19-26 Date: May 10, 2019
Subject: LTP – Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Participants With Unexpired 2014 Contracts Applying for Consideration as New in FY 2019


   
 
Purpose.  To provide State conservationists (STCs) and directors of the Pacific Islands and Caribbean Areas with guidance on handling participant requests to apply for a new CSP contract in fiscal year (FY) 2019 rather than extending their unexpired 2014 contract as provided through National Bulletin (NB) 300-19-15.    
 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2019
 
Background.  NB 300-19-15 provides guidance to States on processing contract extensions authorized through the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Act). NB 300-19-22 provides guidance to States related to accepting and processing FY 2019 CSP applications. Since the release of these bulletins, States have requested guidance on how to handle situations where a participant with a current CSP contract requests to apply for a new CSP contract in FY 2019 rather than extending their active FY 2014 contract.
 
Explanation.  Current policies in Title 440, Conservation Programs Manual, Parts 507, 508, and 512, do not address contract extensions and include language States may interpret as prohibiting a participant from applying for a new CSP contract while still enrolled in an active CSP contract. Through this bulletin, FAPD clarifies that States are authorized to accept and evaluate applications from participants with active FY 2014 CSP contracts during the FY 2019 ranking period in accordance with NB 300-19-22. However, NRCS must not obligate a new CSP contract until any existing contract with the same land either expires or the participant requests and NRCS approves a contract cancellation. States must not modify any CSP contract to reduce the expiration date.

Note: while a CSP contract may be in “completed” status in ProTracts, the contract remains active and enforceable until it reaches its expiration date unless it has been cancelled or terminated.

Examples:

#1: The active CSP contract will expire prior to the NRCS obligating a new contract. States may proceed with normal application processing.

#2: The active CSP contract will not expire prior to the NRCS obligating a new contract and the participant requests to cancel their existing contract. In this situation, NRCS may approve the contract cancellation request. NRCS must cancel the active contract prior to obligating the new contract.

Note: If a participant requests cancellation and the contract is in “completed” status, NRCS will have to reactivate the contract to process a cancellation modification. Under these circumstances, NRCS will not need to complete an NRCS-CPA-153 as part of the reactivation process, and participant signature is not required. Once the contract is “active” in ProTracts, NRCS can complete the cancellation. The participant must sign and NRCS must approve the cancellation before NRCS can approve the new contract.

#3: The active CSP contract will not expire prior to the NRCS obligating a new contract and the participant does NOT request to cancel their existing contract. NRCS must determine these applications “ineligible” on the basis that the land is currently enrolled in CSP.

It is important to note that under the 2018 Act, CSP transitioned from an acre-based program to a fund-based program. As such, NRCS fully anticipates that CSP will be much more competitive than in prior years. States must not advise participants to cancel their active FY 2014 CSP contract and forego the 1-year extension option in favor of applying for a new contract since participants are not guaranteed to receive a new contract in FY 2019. Due to the timeframe for extending the FY 2014 CSP contracts, participants may not know whether they rank high enough for a new FY 2019 contract prior to the extension deadline established in NB 300-19-15.
 
Contact.  If you have questions, submit them through your State contact to the FAPD SharePoint site.
 
 

 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT
Deputy Chief for Programs

 
 
     
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