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This rule involves matters relating to benefits and therefore is exempt from the APA requirements. The 2018 Farm Bill establishes conservation incentive contracts to address up to three priority resource concerns for each land use within a given watershed, or other region, or area. Specifically, NRCS obtains input through Tribal Conservation Advisory Councils. CIG—On-farm Trials, Other, and SHD Trials; Conservation Practices—High Priority Practices, Incentive Practices, Other, Prairie Pothole Wildlife Practice, Soil Health, and Source Water Protection; Contracts with WMEs—Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and Payment Limitation Waiver, Land Eligibility Criteria, and Other; Definitions—Eligible Land, High Priority Area, Priority Resource Concern, Soil Testing, and WMEs; EQIP Plan of Operations—Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan; Concern over whether NRCS was making equitable allocations to States by citing a 2017 U.S. Government Accountability Office report suggesting that NRCS was using historical allocation data rather than seeking to optimize environmental benefits. include documents scheduled for later issues, at the request The breadth and depth of these comments indicate the importance of fund allocations to EQIP stakeholders and partners. You should work with the NRCS office at your local USDA Service Center to submit your EQIP application. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, rangeland, pasture, wetlands, nonindustrial private forest land, and other land on which agricultural or forest-related products or livestock are produced and natural resource concerns may be addressed. var imgFloat = dom_i.query(this).css("float") == undefined ? edition of the Federal Register. Response: States already may offer contracts with a term of up to 10 years with one or more annual management practices to restore, develop, protect, and improve wildlife habitat. better and aid in comparing the online edition to the print edition. The EQIP statute (section 1240B(g)(3)), provides for longer-term (up to 10 year) contracts that benefit wildlife and includes postharvest flooding practices or practices that maintain the hydrology of temporary and seasonal wetlands. Comment asserted: The current “no action” alternative is not a legally permissible outcome; the Programmatic EA must indicate which decisions are discretionary or mandatory; for discretionary decisions, NRCS must list at least two legally permissible alternatives; and because the Programmatic EA is insufficient, the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is also insufficient. Information about this document as published in the Federal Register. The environmental impacts of this rule have been considered in a manner consistent with the provisions of NEPA (42 U.S.C. Comment: NRCS received comment recommending that NRCS add language to the rule to diversify participation in SHD Trials—for example, by farm type, size, location, and underrepresented producers. }); This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that’s been signed by the U.S. government. Response: NRCS appreciates the suggestions for improving outreach and operations and will incorporate suggestions when updating outreach plans and EQIP policies. if(imgMarginRight.indexOf("px") > 0){ dom_i.query(document).ready(function(){ About the Federal Register The 2018 Farm Bill also requires the Secretary to identify available data sets within USDA that link the use of conservation practices to farm and ranch profitability (including crop yields, soil health, and other risk-related factors). count = count+1; 10 : dom_i.query(this).css("margin-top").trim(); No change is being made to the regulation in response to this issue. NRCS tracks EQIP investment and performance. var title = dom.query(this).attr("title") == undefined ? USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service provides financial resources and one-on-one technical support for agricultural producers to plan and implement conservation practices. Farm records must be established or updated with the Farm Service Agency at your local Service Center for both the person(s) and the land for your application to be eligible and evaluated. However, the adjacent land must meet several criteria in order to be eligible for enrollment in a contract with a WME, including that it must be “necessary to support the installation of a conservation practice or system on eligible land.” This supports an expansive interpretation of “adjacent” while ensuring that the adjacent land's enrollment supports the installation of a practice or system on eligible land. The 2018 Farm Bill authorized increased payment rates for certain high-priority practices and for practices that address source water protection. Relocated the General Administration provisions from subpart C to a new subpart E and updated language addressing environmental markets to reflect changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Executive Order 13563 emphasized the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Comment: NRCS received comment requesting a modification to how the changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill appear in the interim rule preamble. In the interim rule, in § 1466.24, NRCS updated the payment limitations for organic production from annual limits to an aggregate limit from FY 2019 through 2023, as required by the 2018 Farm Bill. The regulatory text has been modified at § 1466.1(a) and § 1466.20(b) to address these concerns. [CDATA[ on NARA's archives.gov. provide legal notice to the public or judicial notice to the courts. Comment: NRCS received comment recommending prioritizing EQIP incentive practices that are compatible with ecosystem services markets; prioritizing applications with at least two priority resource concerns; allowing EQIP grazing practices on cover crops and other grass-based practices that have wildlife benefits; prioritizing payments for management practices to encourage long-term, beneficial changes to production systems; and using longer-term incentive contracts in certain circumstances, such as with wildlife projects. 11/06/2020, 41 11/06/2020, 372 The Chief may reduce the matching requirements of paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section, provided that the applicant is: (1) An historically underserved producer; (2) A community-based organization comprised of, representing, or exclusively working with historically underserved producers on a CIG project; (3) Developing an innovative conservation approach or technology specifically targeting historically underserved producers' unique needs and limitations; or. Therefore, this rule is not subject to the requirements of UMRA. Contracts will range from a minimum of 5 years to up to 10 years in length and provide an annual payment and incentive practice payments. No other changes are made to the regulation in response to this issue. Once your application has been filed and both you and your land are determined to be eligible for EQIP, a local NRCS conservationist will have a one-on-one consultation with you to evaluate the current condition of the natural resource conditions or concerns on your land. imgMarginRight = imgMarginRight.replace("px",""); This plan becomes your roadmap for selecting the right conservation practices for your land. Response: Incentive practices are a relatively new area for NRCS, and NRCS is continuing to work with State, local, and Tribal groups to develop practices that are best suited for incentive payments in each high-priority area. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Response: The term “adjacent” is not defined in the interim rule or in this final rule. USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. A conservationist from the NRCS office at your local USDA Service Center will provide free one-on-one support to develop a conservation plan that meets your conservation goals and vision for your operation, including production goals. Be sure to leave feedback using the 'Help' button on the bottom right of each page! The objectives of the Executive Order are to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened Federalism, by relying on State and local processes for State and local government coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance and direct Federal development.

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