NB_300_22_57 - NB 300-22-57 LTP – Fiscal Year 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program Grassland Conservation Initiative
NB 300-22-57 LTP – Fiscal Year 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program Grassland Conservation Initiative
National Bulletin: 300-22-57 Date: September 9, 2023
Subject: LTP – Fiscal Year 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program Grassland Conservation Initiative


                                      Action Required By:  October 14, 2022 and December 30, 2022
 
Purpose.  This national bulletin informs State conservationists and directors of the Caribbean and Pacific Islands Areas of national guidance and establishes deadlines for accepting and evaluating applications and for completing fund obligations for fiscal year (FY) 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program Grassland Conservation Initiative (CSP-GCI).
 
Expiration Date.  September 30, 2023
 
Background.  The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) authorizes NRCS to enroll producers with eligible base acres in CSP-GCI contracts from FY 2019 to FY 2023 to help producers protect grazing uses and achieve related conservation values.
 
Explanation.  This bulletin supplements 440-CPM Part 530.310 by providing required actions and a timeline for FY 2023 CSP-GCI enrollment activities. NRCS will not announce a signup for CSP-GCI. Instead, NRCS will mail application instructions to producers that have potentially eligible land by September 2, 2022. A list of these producers provided by FSA can be found on the CSP SharePoint. The instructions include the application deadline of October 14, 2022. After the signup is closed, NRCS will allocate funds based on an assessment of applications received nationally.

Required Actions. State conservationists and directors must ensure that the following actions are completed.

1.  ProTracts Actions to be completed by October 14, 2022:

  • Create and release the “CSP-GCI” subaccount in ProTracts located under the “CSP-GCI 2018” program after the FY 2023 rollover.
  • Select the subaccount type as “CSP-GCI.” This is the only subaccount that must 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. Processing Applications:

  • Instruct interested producers to apply using the NRCS-CPA-1200 dated October 2021, which can be found at USDA eForms.
  • After receiving the NRCS-CPA-1200 from the applicant, NRCS must write “GCI” next to the CSP program designation in block 12.
  • To confirm eligibility, NRCS must check the Excel file, “Producers who Received Notice of Potential GCI Eligibility August 2022,” located on the CSP SharePoint under the 2023 Ranking Period, GCI folder. To determine potentially eligible base acres, the field office must check the FSA-156EZ in FSA’s Farm Data Records website. Guidance for determining potentially eligible CSP-GCI base acres on a farm is located on the CSP SharePoint under the 2023 Ranking Period, GCI Signup 2023-1 GCI folder. The field office must confirm 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 or terminated is ineligible for enrollment in a future CSP-GCI contract.
  • NRCS will submit the CSP-GCI application to ProTracts under FY 2023-1 GCI signup in the CSP-GCI 2018 program.

Note: States cannot create the FY 2023-1 GCI signup until after the FY 2023 ProTracts rollover. Applications received before or during the rollover can be entered in the FY 2022-2 GCI signup and then later deferred and promoted to FY 2023-1 GCI.

  • Applications received after the October 14, 2022, deadline will be entered in the FY 2023-2 GCI signup for future consideration. Applicants who did not receive an NRCS letter but apply for CSP-GCI by October 14, 2022, will also be entered in the FY 2023-2 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.
  • NRCS will complete the CSP-GCI Preobligation Checklist (440-CPM-530, exhibit 530.320B) or state equivalent before contract obligation.
  • All CSP-GCI contracts must include the appendix, dated February 2021. Print the blank CSP-GCI appendix from USDA eForms to obtain the participant signatures before the NRCS approving official obligates the contract. A copy of the signed appendix must be provided to the participant.

3. Managing Unfunded 2022-2 GCI Applications by October 14, 2022:

  • Change application status to “Deferred.” in ProTracts after the FY 2023 rollover.
  • Review the current list of producers who received notice of potential GCI Eligibility August 2022, which can be found on the CSP SharePoint under the 2023 Ranking Period, GCI folder.
  • For applications that are on the current list of FSA participants and are determined to be eligible, promote deferred application to 2023-1 GCI.
  • For applications that are on the current list of FSA participants and are determined to be ineligible, promote deferred applications to 2023-1 GCI, change the application status to “Ineligible,” and send the ineligibility letter.
  • For applications where there are no eligible base acres, promote deferred applications to 2023-1 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 deferred applications to 2023-2 GCI and have the applicant work with FSA to be added to their list for future consideration.

4. Planning:

  • States must use Conservation Desktop (CD) to evaluate CSP-GCI applications and develop the plan using type “CSTwP.”
  • Planners must select the priority resource concern category that the applicant agrees to meet or exceed by the end of the contract from the dropdown on the applications screen in ProTracts. The selected category will appear on the ProTracts Contract screen upon contract obligation and remain visible in ProTracts for the life of the contract.

5. Obligation Deadline: December 30, 2022
 
Contact.  Direct questions about this bulletin to the appropriate State contact, who will forward the question to the Financial Assistance Programs Division SharePoint.
 
 

 /s/

KAREN WOODRICH
Acting Deputy Chief for Programs

 
 
 Attachment A - Guidance for Enrolling Newly Acquired or Newly Eligible Land
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