NB_300_21_4 - NB 300-21-4 LTP – Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Guidance for Contract Renewal Evaluation and Obligation
NB 300-21-4 LTP – Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Guidance for Contract Renewal Evaluation and Obligation
National Bulletin: 300-21-4 Date: October 26, 2020
Subject: LTP – Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Guidance for Contract Renewal Evaluation and Obligation

Purpose.   To provide State conservationists (STCs) and Directors, Caribbean and Pacific Island Areas, guidance to evaluate and obligate CSP 2021-1-renewals.   
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2021

Background.   The CSP Interim Rule issued November 12, 2019, authorized NRCS to offer an opportunity during the first half of the fifth year for CSP contract participants to apply to renew their existing CSP contracts for one additional 5-year period. NRCS issued National Bulletin (NB) 300-20-12 in February 2020 and NB 300-20-54 in September 2020 to establish the application signup deadlines for renewal applications NRCS will consider for funding in FY2021. Title 440, Conservation Programs Manual (CPM), Part 530.304D provides guidance for contract renewals.


Explanation.   States will use the information contained in this bulletin along with policy contained in Title 440 CPM, Part 530, and signup documents that are posted on the CSP Home SharePoint site to provide training and to prepare for and implement, the 2021 renewal signup.

Timeline.  States must manage their renewal workload to ensure all eligible renewal applications are obligated by February 26, 2021.

Assessments and Ranking.  States must—

• Create ranking pools following the guidance in National Instruction (NI) 440-310 and Exhibits “H” and “I” of that NI using the same templates and information that was used for the FY2020 CSP signups.
• Select five State priority resource concern categories (RCCs) for each renewal ranking pool.
• Edit and release subaccounts in Protracts.
• Review the application, renewal offer, and supporting documentation.
• Verify that the agricultural or non-industrial private forestland (NIPF) delineation is consistent with Farm Service Agency (FSA) records or other STC approved sources.
• Complete assessments and rankings no later than December 4, 2020. The 2021 CSP Renewal signup includes renewal applications based on the following existing contracts:

  • 2016-1 general/classic,

  • 2016-1 RCPP-CSP, and

  • 2015-1 general/classic contracts that were extended for a sixth year.

Note: CSP participants with 2016-1-renewal contracts are not eligible to apply for consideration in the 2021-1-renewal signup.

Note:  Renewal applications for each of these groups will compete together for funding through the 2021-1-renewal signup.

• Use the FY2020 Activity List to identify the conservation activities eligible for the 2021-1-renewal signup.
• Use the 2021-1-renewal cost list which is based on the FY2020 payment schedules.
• Schedule at least one additional activity on all land uses included in the contract, except as explained below for farmstead or AAL. States are not required to schedule activities, once initially implemented for the remaining years of the contract, except as required for supplemental payment activities.

Exception for associated ag land (AAL) and farmstead.  The exception identified for farmsteads and AAL found in policy in 440-CPM-530-Q-530.302E, applies to renewal applications provided the applicant meets any two RCCs at the time of application on farmstead and AAL.  For the FY2021 renewal applications, if the applicant chooses to schedule a new activity on farmstead or AAL, they do not need to meet two additional State priority RCCs or exceed two existing State priority RCCs by the end of the contract for these land uses.  If the participant schedules at least one additional conservation activity on farmstead or AAL, they are eligible to receive the existing activity payment for that land use.

Contract Modifications.  If the State will not obligate the renewal contract before the existing contract expires, the State must complete and approve a contract length modification no later than December 18, 2020, to extend the existing contract to ensure it does not expire prior to obligation of the renewal contract.

Note:  Field offices do not need to obtain participant signatures on these extension modifications because the participant has expressed interest in receiving a renewal contract through their submission of a renewal application. Field offices that extend these contracts must notify the participant of this action using the template letter provided as Attachment A to this bulletin.

Note:  If the 2015 contract is in “Completed” status in ProTracts, field offices will first need to complete a “Reactivation” modification before completing the “Contract Length” modification. Reactivation modifications do not require participant signature.

Note:  Participants who reject the extension are subject to the 2-year ineligible period for a new contract, if the State cannot process their renewal application and consider them for a renewal contract.


  • Develop a new conservation plan of the type “conservation” and plan map in Conservation Desktop. 

  • Obligation deadline: February 26, 2021.


Chief’s Waiver.  The CSP Final Rule, effective October 9, 2020, changed the requirements for the two-year ineligible period to include any participant who does not enter a renewal contract on their operation at the end of the prior contract period.  The Acting Chief approved a waiver (Attachment B) to the two -year ineligible period for 2015-1-extended and 2016-1-general participants who do not rank high enough for funding.  Additionally, the waiver also explains that the two-year ineligible period does not apply to 2016-1-renewal participants who were not previously eligible for a second renewal.

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

FAPD SharePoint.



Deputy Chief for Programs

Attachment A

Attachment B

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