NB_300_20_56 - NB 300-20-56 LTP – Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Grassland Conservation Initiative (GCI)
NB 300-20-56 LTP – Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Grassland Conservation Initiative (GCI)
National Bulletin: 300-20-56 Date: September 26, 2020
Subject: LTP – Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Grassland Conservation Initiative (GCI) 


Action Required By:  October 16, 2020, and December 31, 2020
 
Purpose.  To provide national guidance and establish deadlines for accepting, evaluating, and completing fund obligations for fiscal year (FY) 2021 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Grassland Conservation Initiative (GCI) contracts.
 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2021
 
Background.  The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) authorizes NRCS to enroll producers with eligible base acres in CSP-GCI contracts during fiscal year (FY) 2019 through FY 2023. CSP-GCI assists producers in protecting grazing uses; conserving and improving soil, water, and wildlife resources; and achieving related conservation values.
 

Explanation.   This bulletin supplements policy issued through 440-CPM Part 530 and provides required actions and a timeline for implementation of CSP-GCI in FY 2021.

Required Actions. The State conservationist will ensure that the following actions are completed.

1. ProTracts Actions to be completed by October 16, 2020:

• Release the “CSP-GCI” Subaccount in ProTracts located under the “CSP-GCI 2018” program after the Fiscal Year rollover in ProTracts.
• The twelve resource concern categories (RCC) will auto-populate and become available when the Subaccount is released. The user will be required to select only one of the twelve when entering an application in the Application module.
o Air Quality Emissions
o Concentrated Erosion
o Degraded Plant Condition
o Field Pesticide Loss
o Field Sediment, Nutrient and Pathogen Loss
o Fire Management
o Livestock Production Limitation
o Pest Pressure
o Salt Losses to Water
o Soil Quality Limitations
o Terrestrial Habitat
o Wind and Water Erosion

• Select the subaccount type as “CSP-GCI”; this is the only subaccount that should be used. Do not create multiple subaccounts for CSP-GCI.
• States will use the “CStwP-GCI” cost list for all CSP-GCI contracts. This cost list contains a single activity (E300GCI – Grassland Conservation Initiative Activity) for $18 per acre.

2. Fund Allocations: Allocation of funds will be assessed and completed after the signup has closed.

3. Applications:

• Potential applicants received a letter from FSA dated August 14, 2020 notifying them of the opportunity to enroll based on the Farms FSA has determined meet the potential eligibility requirements for CSP-GCI. The FSA letter instructed producers interested in participating in CSP-GCI in FY 2021 to contact FSA no later than September 18, 2020 if they believe the records are incorrect or incomplete.

• Applicants must contact NRCS and complete form NRCS-CPA-1200, Conservation Program Application, no later than October 16, 2020 to be considered for enrollment in FY 2021. This form is located on the ProTracts Forms menu as Blank CSP Application (NRCS-CPA-1200). Do not use Blank CSP-GCI Application (NRCS-CPA-1200) which is an outdated form with an outdated appendix attached to it.

• NRCS will write “GCI” on the NRCS-CPA-1200 next to the CSP program designation when they receive it from the applicant.

• NRCS will check the Excel file - Producers who received notice of potential GCI Eligibility August 2020 - on the CSP SharePoint under the 2021 Ranking Period, GCI signup 2021-1 folder to verify eligibility. The base acres are not provided in the spreadsheet so the field office must check the FSA-156EZ in FSA Farm Data Records to determine potentially eligible base acres. Guidance for determining potentially eligible CSP-GCI base acres on a farm is located on the CSP SharePoint under the 2021 Ranking Period, GCI Signup 2021-1 GCI folder. The field office must verify that none of the base acres are currently enrolled in an unexpired CSP contract, as these acres are ineligible for enrollment. In addition, any base acreage that was enrolled in a CSP-GCI contract that was subsequently cancelled is ineligible for enrollment in a future CSP-GCI contract. Refer to policy in 440-CPM-530-Q-530.310F(6)(iii).

• NRCS will enter the CSP-GCI application in the 2021-1 GCI signup under the “CSP-GCI 2018” program.

• Applications received after the October 16, 2020 deadline will be entered in the 2021-2 GCI signup for future consideration. Applicants who did not receive an FSA letter, but apply for CSP-GCI by October 16, 2020 will also be entered in the 2021-2 GCI signup.

• If the applicant is applying to enroll new land, follow the “Guidance for Enrolling Newly Acquired or Newly Eligible Land” (attachment A) for possible scenarios.

• Unfunded applications remaining in the Sign-Up 2020-3 GCI:

- Change the status of all applications to “Deferred”.
- Review the current list of Producers who received notice of potential GCI Eligibility August 2020 which can be found on the CSP SharePoint under the 2021 Ranking Period, GCI Signup 2021-1 folder.
- For applications where there are no eligible base acres, “Promote Deferrals” to 2021-1 GCI, change the application status to ineligible, and send the ineligibility letter.
- For applications where the applicant is on the current list of FSA participants and is eligible, “Promote Deferrals” to 2021-1 GCI.
- For applications where the applicant is on the current list of FSA participants and is determined to be ineligible, “Promote Deferrals” to 2021-1 GCI, change the application status to “Ineligible”, and send the ineligibility letter.
- For applications where the applicant is not on the current list of FSA participants, “Promote Deferrals” to 2021-2 GCI and have the applicant work with FSA to be added to their list for future consideration.

• NRCS must complete Exhibit 530.320B CSP-CGI Preobligation Checklist or incorporate the requirements into a State pre-obligation checklist prior to contract obligation.

• All CSP-GCI contracts must include the appendix dated January 2020. Print the Blank CSP-GCI Appendix (NRCS-CPA-1202 Appendix) from the ProTracts Forms menu in order to obtain participant signatures prior to the NRCS approving official obligating the contract. A copy of this appendix must also be provided to the participant.

4. Planning:

• States must use Conservation Desktop (CD) to complete CSP-GCI applications. The user must develop the plan as type “CStwP”.
• In addition to policy found in 440-CPM-530-Q-530.310D(2), planners must select the RCC that the applicant agrees to meet or exceed by the end of the contract from the dropdown on the application screen in ProTracts. The selected RCC will transfer to the ProTracts contract screen upon obligation and remain visible in ProTracts for the life of the contract. Once NRCS obligates the contract, the participant may not change the priority resource concern selected at the time of application.
5. Obligation Deadline: December 31, 2020  

 
Contact.  Direct questions about this bulletin through the appropriate State contact to the FAPD SharePoint.
 
 

 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT
Deputy Chief for Programs  
 
Attachment A
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