NB_300_23_30 - NB 300-23-30 LTP – Fiscal Year 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program, Grassland Conservation Initiative Unfunded Application Guidance
NB 300-23-30 LTP – Fiscal Year 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program, Grassland Conservation Initiative Unfunded Application Guidance
National Bulletin: 300-23-30 Date: May 17, 2023 
Subject: LTP – Fiscal Year 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program, Grassland Conservation Initiative Unfunded Application Guidance

Action Required By:   September 30, 2023  
Purpose.   This national bulletin provides guidance to state conservationists and directors of the Caribbean and Pacific Islands areas for processing the unfunded fiscal year (FY) 2023 Conservation Stewardship Program, Grassland Conservation Initiative (CSP-GCI) applications.   
Expiration Date.   September 30, 2023 
Background.   The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) authorized NRCS to enroll producers with eligible base acres in CSP-GCI contracts. These contracts help producers protect grazing uses and achieve related conservation values. NRCS will offer producers who applied for the FY 2023 CSP-GCI after the cutoff deadline of October 14, 2022, the opportunity to enroll eligible land into the program.     

This bulletin provides additional guidance to National Bulletin (NB) 300-22-57 for processing FY 2023 CSP-GCI applications that were unfunded or received after the cutoff deadline and extends the FY 2023 application deadline to September 1, 2023.

Required Actions.  Unfunded applications in signup 2023-1 GCI that are in pending, eligible, preapproved, or approved status and are determined to be eligible will be moved to signup 2023-2 GCI in ProTracts. Applications received after the cutoff deadline will be entered in signup 2023-2 GCI.

New applications will be accepted and processed through September 1, 2023, following the guidance in NB 300-22-57.  Contract obligations must be completed by September 30, 2023.

Contact eligible applicants with the “Intent to Proceed Letter” (440 CPM § 530.141(C)) to determine if they want to pursue a 2023 contract.  For applications that have no eligible base acres or have been determined to be ineligible, change the application status in ProTracts to “ineligible” and send the ineligibility letter (440 CPM § 530.141(B)) to the applicant.

States must use the CSTwP-GCI cost list for all CSP-GCI contracts. This cost list contains a single activity (E00GCI – Grassland Conservation Initiative Activity) for $18 per acre.

States must request funds through the Funds Assessment Request tool, as needed.  National headquarters will review and allocate funds as requests are received.

Processing Applications:  To confirm eligibility, NRCS must check the “FSA List 2022 Farms Tract with Owners Operator for CSP GCI Mailing List,” located in the CSP-GCI Documents folder on the CSP SharePoint.

To determine potentially eligible base acres, the field office must check the FSA-156EZ in FSA’s Farm Data Records.  Guidance for determining potentially eligible CSP-GCI base acres on a farm is located in attachment A of this bulletin. 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 previously enrolled in a CSP-GCI contract that was cancelled or terminated is ineligible for enrollment in a future CSP-GCI contract.

If the applicant is applying to enroll new land, follow the “Guidance for Enrolling Newly Acquired or Newly Eligible Land,” in the CSP SharePoint.

Planning:  States must use Conservation Desktop to evaluate applications and develop the plan using the type “CSTwP.”  NRCS must complete the CSP-GCI Preobligation Checklist (440 CPM § 530.320(B)) before the contract obligation.

In addition to the policy found in 440 CPM § 530.310(D)(2), planners must select the priority resource concern category (RCC) 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 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.

Contact.   Direct questions about this bulletin to the appropriate state contact, who will forward the question to the Financial Assistance Programs Division SharePoint.   


Deputy Chief for Programs

Attachment A – Determining Potential Eligible Base Acres for a Farm and Tract    
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