The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to address resource concerns by improving and maintaining existing conservation systems and undertaking additional conservation activities to enhance their operation. CSP pays participants for conservation performance – the higher the performance, the higher the payment. This program provides participants with an annual payment for maintaining their current stewardship level while enhancing their operation to improve certain resource concerns.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary conservation program of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality. This program is available to farmers, and offers financial and technical assistance to install or implement structural, vegetative and management practices on eligible agricultural land.
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) targets high-priority conservation concerns identified by a State, and federal funds are supplemented with non-federal funds to address those concerns. In exchange for removing environmentally sensitive land from production and establishing permanent resource conserving plant species, farmers and ranchers are paid an annual rental rate along with other federal and state incentives as applicable per each CREP agreement. Participation is voluntary, and the contract period is typically 10–15 years.
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements.
The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) helps farmers and ranchers to repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and to help put in place methods for water conservation during severe drought. The ECP does this by giving ranchers and farmers funding and assistance to repair the damaged farmland or to install methods for water conservation.