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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of September 29, 2014

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XIVSubchapter B → Part 1410


Title 7: Agriculture


PART 1410—CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM


Contents
§1410.1   Administration.
§1410.2   Definitions.
§1410.3   General description.
§1410.4   Maximum county acreage.
§1410.5   Eligible persons.
§1410.6   Eligible land.
§1410.7   Duration of contracts.
§1410.8   Conservation priority areas.
§1410.9   Conversion to trees.
§1410.10   Restoration of wetlands.
§1410.11   Farmable Wetlands Program.
§1410.12   Emergency Forestry Program.
§§1410.13-1410.19   [Reserved]
§1410.20   Obligations of participant.
§1410.21   Obligations of the Commodity Credit Corporation.
§1410.22   CRP conservation plan.
§1410.23   Eligible practices.
§§1410.24-1410.29   [Reserved]
§1410.30   Signup.
§1410.31   Acceptability of offers.
§1410.32   CRP contract.
§1410.33   Contract modifications.
§§1410.34-1410.39   [Reserved]
§1410.40   Cost-share payments.
§1410.41   Levels and rates for cost-share payments.
§1410.42   Annual rental payments.
§1410.43   Method of payment.
§1410.44   Average adjusted gross income.
§§1410.45-1410.49   [Reserved]
§1410.50   Enhancement programs.
§1410.51   Transfer of land.
§1410.52   Violations.
§1410.53   Executed CRP contract not in conformity with regulations.
§1410.54   Performance based upon advice or action of the Department.
§1410.55   Access to land under contract.
§1410.56   Division of payments and provisions about tenants and sharecroppers.
§1410.57   Payments not subject to claims.
§1410.58   Assignments.
§1410.59   Appeals.
§1410.60   Scheme or device.
§1410.61   Filing of false claims.
§1410.62   Miscellaneous.
§1410.63   Permissive uses.
§1410.64   Transition Incentives Program.

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 714b and 714c; 16 U.S.C. 3801-3847.

Source: 68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, unless otherwise noted.

§1410.1   Administration.

(a) The regulations in this part will be implemented under the general supervision and direction of the Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), the Administrator, Farm Service Agency (FSA), or a designee, or the Deputy Administrator, FSA. In the field, the regulations in this part will be implemented by the FSA State and county committees (“State committees” and “county committees,” respectively).

(b) State executive directors, county executive directors, and State and county committees do not have the authority to modify or waive any of the provisions in this part unless specifically authorized by the Deputy Administrator.

(c) The State committee may take any action authorized or required by this part to be taken by the county committee, but which has not been taken by such committee, such as:

(1) Correct or require a county committee to correct any action taken by such county committee that is not in accordance with this part; or

(2) Require a county committee to withhold taking any action that is not in accordance with this part.

(d) No delegation of authority herein to a State or county committee shall preclude the Executive Vice President, CCC, the Administrator, FSA, or a designee, or the Deputy Administrator, from determining any question arising under this part or from reversing or modifying any determination made by a State or county committee.

(e) Data furnished by prospective participants will be used to determine eligibility for program benefits. Furnishing the data is voluntary; however, the failure to provide data could result in program benefits being withheld or denied.

(f) Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, the Erodibility Index (EI), suitability of land for permanent vegetative or water cover, factors for determining the likelihood of improved water quality, and adequacy of the planned practice to achieve desired objectives shall be determined by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) or other sources approved by CCC, in accordance with the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) of NRCS or other guidelines deemed appropriate by NRCS. In no case shall such determination compel CCC to execute a contract that CCC does not believe will serve the purposes of the program established by this part. Any approved technical authority shall utilize CRP guidelines established by CCC.

(g) CCC may consult with the Forest Service (FS), a State forestry agency, or other organizations as determined by CCC to be necessary for developing and implementing conservation plans that include tree planting as the appropriate practice or as a component of a practice.

(h) CCC may consult with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to coordinate a related information and education program as deemed appropriate to implement the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

(i) CCC may consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), or State wildlife agencies for such assistance as is determined necessary by CCC to implement the CRP.

(j) Except as agreed by CCC and the participant together:

(1) The regulations in this part and others governing CRP as of September 30, 2008, will continue to govern contracts in effect as of that date (see 7 CFR part 1410 contained in the edition of 7 CFR parts 1200 to 1599 revised as of January 1, 2008); and

(2) Except as specified in paragraph (j)(1) of this section, this part will apply to all CRP contracts.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30911, June 29, 2009; 76 FR 4805, Jan. 27, 2011]

§1410.2   Definitions.

(a) The definitions in part 718 of this chapter shall be applicable to this part and all documents issued in accordance with this part, except as otherwise provided in this section.

(b) The following definitions shall be applicable to this part:

Agricultural commodity means:

(1) Any crop planted and produced by annual tilling of the soil or on an annual basis by one-trip planters,

(2) Sugarcane planted or produced in a State, or

(3) Alfalfa and other multi-year grasses and legumes grown in a rotation practice as approved by CCC.

Annual rental payment means, unless the context indicates otherwise, the annual payment specified in the CRP contract that, subject to the availability of funds, is made to a participant to compensate a participant for placing eligible land in CRP, including any incentive payments that are not specifically cost-shares.

Beginning farmer or rancher means, as determined by CCC, a person or entity who:

(1) Has not been a farm or ranch operator or owner for more than 10 years,

(2) Materially and substantially participates in the operation of the farm or ranch involved in the CRP contract modification, and

(3) If an entity, is an entity in which 50 percent of the members or stockholders of the entity meet the first two requirements of this definition.

Commercial pond-raised aquaculture facility means, as determined by CCC, any earthen facility from which $1,000 or more of freshwater food fish were sold or normally would have been sold during a calendar year.

Conservation district means a political subdivision of a State, Indian Tribe, or territory, organized pursuant to the State or territorial soil conservation district law, or Tribal law. The subdivision may be a conservation district, soil conservation district, soil and water conservation district, resource conservation district, natural resource district, land conservation committee, or similar legally constituted body.

Conservation plan means a record of the participant's decisions and supporting information for treatment of a unit of land or water, and includes a schedule of operations, activities, and estimated expenditures needed to solve identified natural resource problems by devoting eligible land to permanent vegetative cover, trees, water, or other comparable measures.

Conservation priority area means an area designated with actual and adverse water quality, wildlife habitat, air quality, or other natural resource impacts related to agricultural production activities or to assist agricultural producers to comply with Federal and State environmental laws or to meet other conservation needs, such as for air quality, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

Conserving use means a use of land with any rotation requirements as may be specified by the Deputy Administrator: for alfalfa and other multi-year grasses and legumes planted during 2002 through 2007; as summer fallow during 2002 through 2007; and in which the land was previously enrolled in the program (for which the contract expired during the period 2002 through 2007) and where the grass cover required by the CRP contract continues to be maintained as though still enrolled. Where the land use for a year qualifies as a “conserving use” under this definition, then, the land for that year shall, for purposes of eligibility under §1410.6(a)(1) be considered to have been planted to an “agricultural commodity.”

Considered planted means: land devoted to a conserving use or land enrolled in the WBP during the crop year or during any of the 2 years preceding the crop year if the contract expired; cropland enrolled in CRP; or land for which the producer received insurance indemnity payment for prevented planting.

Contour grass strip means a vegetation area that follows the contour of the land that complies with the FOTG and a conservation plan developed under this part.

Contract period means the term of the contract which is not less than 10, nor more than 15 years.

Cost-share payment means the payment made by CCC to assist program participants in establishing the practices required in a contract.

Cropland means land defined as cropland in part 718 of this title, except for land in terraces that are no longer capable of being cropped.

Cropped wetlands means farmed wetlands and wetlands farmed under natural conditions.

Deputy Administrator means the Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, FSA, the CRP Program Manager, or a designee.

Erodibility Index (EI) is, as prescribed by CCC, used to determine the inherent erodibility (water or wind) of a soil.

Farmed wetlands means land defined as farmed wetlands in part 12 of this title.

Federally-owned land means land owned by the Federal Government or any department, instrumentality, bureau, or agency thereof, or any corporation whose stock is wholly owned by the Federal Government.

Field means a part of a farm that is separated from the balance of the farm by permanent boundaries such as fences, roads, permanent waterways, woodlands, other similar features, or crop-lines, as determined by CCC.

Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) means the official USDA guidelines, criteria, and standards for planning and applying conservation treatments and conservation management systems. It contains detailed information on the conservation of soil, water, air, plant, animal resources, and cultural resources applicable to the local area for which it is prepared.

Field windbreak, shelterbelt, and/or living snowfence mean a vegetative barrier with a linear configuration composed of trees, shrubs, or other vegetation, as determined by CCC, that are designated as such in a conservation plan and that are planted for the purpose of reducing wind erosion, controlling snow, improving wildlife habitat, or conserving energy.

Filter strip means a strip or area of vegetation adjacent to a body of water the purpose of which is to remove nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides, and other pollutants from surface runoff and subsurface flow by deposition, absorption, plant uptake, and other processes, thereby reducing pollution and protecting surface water and subsurface water quality and of a width determined appropriate for the purpose by the Deputy Administrator.

Highly Erodible Land (HEL) means land determined to have an EI equal to or greater than 8 on the acreage offered.

Infeasible to farm means an area that is too small or isolated to be economically farmed, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

Indian tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group, or community, including pueblos, rancherias, colonies and any Alaska Native Village, or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601-1629h), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Landlord means a person who rents or leases acreage to another person.

Limited resource farmer or rancher means:

(1) A person with direct or indirect gross farm sales of not more than $155,200 in each of the previous two calendar years preceding the year of enrollment (adjusted for inflation using Prices Paid by Farmer Index as compiled by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service), and

(2) A total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four, or less than 50 percent of county median household income in each of the previous two years (to be determined annually using U.S. Department of Commerce data).

Local FSA office means the FSA office serving the area in which the FSA records are located for the farm or ranch.

Merchantable timber means timber grown for commercial purposes on private non-industrial forest land on which the average tree has a trunk diameter of at least 6 inches measured at a point no less than 4.5 feet above the ground.

Offer means, unless the context indicates otherwise, if required by CCC, the per-acre rental payment requested by the owner or operator in such owner's or operator's request to participate in the CRP.

Offeror means an eligible person as determined by CCC who submits an offer of eligible acreage for enrollment into the CRP to enter into a CRP contract.

Operator means a person who is in general control of the farming operation on the farm, as determined by CCC.

Payment period means the 10- to 15-year contract period for which the participant receives an annual rental payment.

Perennial crop means a crop that is produced from the same root structure for two or more years, as determined by CCC.

Permanent vegetative cover means perennial stands of approved combinations of certain grasses, legumes, forbs, shrubs and trees with a life span of 10 or more years.

Permanent wildlife habitat means a vegetative cover with the specific purpose of providing habitat, food, or cover for wildlife and protecting other environmental concerns for the life of the contract.

Pollinator means an insect or other animal that carries pollen from one flower to another.

Practice means a conservation, wildlife habitat, or water quality measure with appropriate operations and management as agreed to in the conservation plan to accomplish the desired program objectives according to CRP and FOTG standards and specifications as a part of a conservation management system.

Present value means the value of a stream of future payments discounted by 5 percent in accordance with Office of Management and Budget Circular A-94 (revised January 2006), Discount Rates To Be Used in Evaluating Time-Distributed Costs and Benefits.

Private non-industrial forest land means, for purposes of §1410.12, lands with existing tree cover that are owned by a private non-industrial forest landowner and which were damaged by hurricanes occurring in calendar year 2005.

Private non-industrial forest landowner means, for purposes of §1410.12, an individual, group, association, corporation, Indian Tribe, other legal private entity, or State School Trust, owning non-industrial private forest land or who receives concurrence from the landowner for making the claim in lieu of the owner, and for practice implementation and who holds a lease on the land for a minimum of 10 years. Corporations whose stocks are publicly traded or owners or lessees principally engaged in the primary processing of raw wood products are excluded from this definition. An owner of land leased to a lessee shall also be excluded who should be excluded under the previous sentence.

Retired or retiring owner or operator means an owner or operator of land enrolled in a CRP contract who has ended active labor in farming operations as a producer of agricultural crops or expects to do so within 5 years of the CRP contract modification.

Riparian buffer means a strip or area of vegetation adjacent to a river or stream of sufficient width as determined by the Deputy Administrator to remove nutrients, sediment, organic matter, pesticides, and other pollutants from surface runoff and subsurface flow by deposition, absorption, plant uptake, and other processes, thereby reducing pollution and protecting surface water and subsurface water quality, which are also intended to provide shade to reduce water temperature for improved habitat for aquatic organisms and supply large woody debris for aquatic organisms and habitat for wildlife.

Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher means a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Gender is not included as a covered group. Socially disadvantaged groups include the following and no others unless approved in writing by the Deputy Administrator:

(1) American Indians or Alaskan Natives,

(2) Asians or Asian-Americans,

(3) Blacks or African Americans,

(4) Hispanics, and

(5) Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders.

Soil loss tolerance (T) means the maximum average annual erosion rate specified in the FOTG that will not adversely impact the long-term productivity of the soil.

State means State agencies, departments, districts, county or city governments, municipalities or any other State or local government of the State.

State school trust land means land owned by a State with the explicit purpose of supporting public schools.

State Technical Committee means a committee established pursuant to part 610 of this chapter to provide information, analysis, and recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

State water quality priority areas means any area so designated by the State committee, in consultation with the State Technical Committee, where agricultural pollutants contribute to water degradation or create the potential for failure to meet applicable water quality standards or the goals and requirements of Federal or State water quality laws. These areas may include areas designated under section 319 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1329) as water quality protection areas, sole source aquifers or other designated areas that result from agricultural nonpoint sources of pollution. Acreage in these areas may be determined eligible as conservation priority areas.

Technical assistance means assistance in regard to determining the eligibility of land and practices, implementing and certifying practices, ensuring contract performance, and providing annual rental rate surveys. The technical assistance provided in connection with CRP to owners or operators, as approved by CCC, includes technical expertise, information, and tools necessary for the conservation of natural resources on land; technical services provided directly to farmers, ranchers, and other eligible entities, such as conservation planning, technical consultation, and assistance with design and implementation of conservation practices; and, technical infrastructure, including activities, processes, tools, and agency functions needed to support delivery of technical services, such as technical standards, resource inventories, training, data, technology, monitoring, and effects analyses.

Violation means an act by the participant, either intentional or unintentional, that would cause the participant to no longer be eligible for all or a portion of cost-share, incentive, or annual contract payments.

Water Bank Program (WBP) means the program authorized by the Water Bank Act of 1970, as amended, in which eligible persons enter into 10-year agreements to preserve, restore, and improve wetlands.

Water cover means flooding of land by water either to develop or restore shallow water areas for wildlife or wetlands, or as a result of a natural disaster.

Wellhead protection area means the area designated by EPA or the appropriate State agency with an Environmental Protection Agency approved Wellhead Protection Program for water being drawn for public use, as defined for public use by the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended.

Wetland means land defined as wetland in accordance with provisions of part 12 of this title.

Wetlands farmed under natural conditions means land defined as wetlands farmed under natural conditions in accordance with provisions of part 12 of this title.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) means the program authorized by part 1467 of this chapter in which eligible persons enter into long-term agreements to restore and protect wetlands.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 26763, May 14, 2004; 71 FR 31917, June 2, 2006; 74 FR 30911, June 29, 2009; 75 FR 27168, May 14, 2010; 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010]

§1410.3   General description.

(a) Under the CRP, CCC will enter into contracts with eligible participants to convert eligible land to a conserving use during the contract period in return for financial and technical assistance.

(b) A participant must obtain and adhere to a conservation plan prepared in accordance with CRP guidelines, as established and determined by CCC. A conservation plan for eligible acreage must be obtained by a participant and must be approved by the conservation district in which the lands are located unless the conservation district declines to review the plan, in which case the provider of technical assistance may take such further action as is needed to account for lack of such review.

(c) The objectives of the CRP are to cost-effectively reduce water and wind erosion, protect the Nation's long-term capability to produce food and fiber, reduce sedimentation, improve water quality, create and enhance wildlife habitat, and other objectives including, as appropriate, addressing issues raised by State, regional, and national conservation initiatives and encouraging more permanent conservation practices, such as, but not limited to, tree planting.

(d) Except as otherwise provided, a participant may, in addition to any payments under this part, receive cost-share assistance, rental or easement payments, tax benefits, or other payments from a State or a private organization in return for enrolling lands in CRP. However, a participant may not receive or retain CRP cost-share assistance if other Federal cost-share assistance is provided for such acreage under any law, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. Further, under no circumstances may the cost-share payments received under this part, or otherwise, exceed the cost of the practice, as determined by CCC.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009]

§1410.4   Maximum county acreage.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the maximum acreage that may be placed in the CRP and the WRP may not exceed 25 percent of the total cropland in the county; further, no more than 10 percent of the cropland may be subject, in the aggregate, to a CRP or WRP easement.

(b) The restrictions in paragraph (a) of this section may be waived by CCC as follows:

(1) If CCC determines that such action would not adversely affect the local economy of the county and that operators in the county are having difficulties complying with conservation plans implemented under part 12 of this title; or

(2) Cropland in a county enrolled under continuous signup provisions as specified in §1410.30 or §1410.50 may be excluded from the restrictions in paragraph (a) of this section, as determined by CCC, provided that the county government concurs.

(c) These restrictions on participation shall be in addition to any other restriction imposed by law.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010]

§1410.5   Eligible persons.

(a) In order to be eligible to enter into a CRP contract in accordance with this part, a person must be an owner, operator, or tenant of eligible land and:

(1) If an operator of eligible land, seeking to participate without the owner, must have operated such land for at least 12 months prior to the close of the applicable signup period and must provide satisfactory evidence that such operator will be in control of such eligible land for the full term of the CRP contract period;

(2) If an owner of eligible land, must have owned such land for at least 12 months prior to the close of the applicable signup period, unless:

(i) The new owner acquired such land by will or succession as a result of the death of the previous owner;

(ii) The only ownership change in the 12-month period occurred due to foreclosure on the land and the owner of the land, immediately before the foreclosure, exercises a timely right of redemption from the mortgage holder in accordance with State law; or

(iii) As determined by the Deputy Administrator, the circumstances of the acquisition are such that present adequate assurance that the new owner of such eligible land did not acquire such land for the purpose of placing it in the CRP; or

(3) If a tenant, the tenant is a participant with an eligible owner or operator.

(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, under continuous signup provisions authorized by §1410.30, an otherwise eligible person must have owned or operated, as appropriate, the eligible land for at least 12 months before submitting the offer.

(c) The provisions of this section do not apply to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers who are eligible participants in the Transition Incentives Program as specified in §1410.64.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 27169, May 14, 2010]

§1410.6   Eligible land.

(a) In order to be eligible to be placed in the CRP, land must be one of the following:

(1) Cropland that is subject to a conservation plan and has been annually planted or considered planted, as defined in §1410.2, to an agricultural commodity in 4 of the 6 crop years from 2002 through 2007, as determined by the CCC, provided further that field margins that are incidental to the planting of crops may also be considered qualifying cropland to the extent determined appropriate by the CCC; and is physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity, as determined by the CCC; or

(2) Marginal pasture land, as determined by the CCC, that:

(i) Is determined to be suitable for use as a riparian buffer or is made eligible in a CREP for similar water quality purposes as determined by the CCC. A field or portion of a field of marginal pasture land may be considered to be suitable for use as a riparian buffer only if, as determined by CCC, it:

(A) Is located adjacent to permanent stream corridors excluding corridors that are considered gullies or sod waterways; and

(B) Is capable, when permanent grass, forbs, shrubs, or trees, are grown, or when planted with appropriate vegetation for the area, including vegetation suitable for wetland restoration or wildlife habitat, as determined appropriate by the CCC, of substantially reducing sediment and/or nutrient runoff that otherwise would be delivered to the adjacent stream or waterbody or for water quality purposes; or

(ii) [Reserved]

(3) Must be acreage enrolled in the CRP during the final year of the CRP contract provided the scheduled expiration date of the current CRP contract is before the effective date the new CRP contract, as determined by the CCC.

(b) Land qualifying under paragraphs (a)(1) or (a) (2) of this section must also meet one of the following criteria, to be eligible for a contract:

(1) Be a field or portion of a field determined to be suitable for use, as determined by the CCC, as a permanent wildlife habitat, filter strip, riparian buffer, contour grass strip, grass waterway, field windbreak, shelterbelt, living snowfence, other uses as determined by the CCC, land devoted to vegetation on salinity producing areas, including any applicable recharge area, or any area determined eligible for CRP based on wetland or wellhead protection area criteria. A field or portion of a field may be considered to be suitable for use as a filter strip or riparian buffer only if it, as determined by CCC:

(i) Is located adjacent to a stream, other waterbody of a permanent nature (such as a lake, pond, or sinkhole), or wetland; excluding such areas as gullies or sod waterways; and

(ii) Is capable, when permanent grass, forbs, shrubs or trees are grown, of substantially reducing sediment or nutrient runoff that otherwise would be delivered to the adjacent stream or waterbody;

(2) Be a field that has evidence of scour erosion caused by out-of-bank flows of water, as determined by CCC:

(i) In addition, such land must:

(A) Be expected to flood a minimum of once every 10 years; and

(B) Have evidence of scour erosion as a result of such flooding.

(ii) To the extent practicable, be the actual affected cropland areas of a field; however, the entire cropland area of an eligible field may be enrolled if:

(A) The size of the field is 9 acres or less; or

(B) More than one third of the cropland in the field is land that lies between the water source and the inland limit of the scour erosion.

(iii) Or, if the full field is not eligible for enrollment under this paragraph, be the cropland between the waterbody and inland limit of the scour erosion together with, as determined by the CCC, additional areas that would otherwise be unmanageable and would be isolated by the eligible areas.

(iv) Be planted to an appropriate tree species according to the FOTG, unless tree planting is determined to be inappropriate by NRCS, in consultation with the Forest Service, in which case the eligible cropland shall be devoted to another acceptable permanent vegetative cover in accordance with the FOTG;

(3) Be cropland that would facilitate a net savings in groundwater or surface water of the agricultural operation of the producer as determined by CCC;

(4) Be cropland in a portion of a field not enrolled in the CRP, if more than 50 percent of the remainder of the field is enrolled as a buffer practice, if the portion of the field not enrolled in the CRP will be enrolled as part of the buffer practice, and if as determined by CCC:

(i) The remainder of the field is infeasible to farm; and

(ii) The remainder of the field is enrolled at an annual payment rate not to exceed the maximum annual calculated soil rental rate;

(5) Be contributing to the degradation of water quality or posing an on-site or off-site environmental threat to water quality if such land remains in production;

(6) Be devoted to certain covers, as determined by the CCC, that are established and maintained according to the FOTG, provided such acreage is not required to be maintained as such under any life-span obligations, as determined by the CCC;

(7) Be non-irrigated or irrigated cropland that produces or serves as the recharge area, as determined by the CCC, for saline seeps, or acreage that is functionally related to such saline seeps, or where a rising water table contributes to increased levels of salinity at or near the ground surface;

(8) Have an EI of greater than or equal to 8 calculated by using the weighted average of the EI's of soil map units within the field;

(9) Be within a public wellhead protection area;

(10) Be within a designated conservation priority area;

(11) Be designated as a cropped wetland and appropriate associated acreage, as determined by the CCC;

(12) Be cropland that, as determined by the CCC, is associated with noncropped wetlands and would provide significant environmental benefits; or

(13) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(1) of this section, be cropland devoted to a perennial crop, as determined by CCC; such cropland will only be eligible for continuous signup practices authorized by §1410.30 and CREP practices authorized by §1410.50(b).

(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, land shall be ineligible for enrollment if, as determined by the CCC, land is:

(1) Federally-owned land unless the applicant has a lease for the contract period;

(2) Land on which the use of the land is restricted through deed or other restriction prior to enrollment in CRP prohibiting the production of agricultural commodities during any part of the contract term except for eligible land under paragraph (a)(2) of this section, as determined by CCC; or

(3) Land already enrolled in the CRP unless authorized by §1410.6(a)(3), as determined by the CCC.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 26763, May 14, 2004; 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010; 78 FR 48037, Aug. 7, 2013]

§1410.7   Duration of contracts.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) or (c) of this section, contracts under this part shall be for a term of 10 years.

(b) In the case of land devoted to riparian buffers, filter strips, restoration of wetlands, hardwood trees, shelterbelts, windbreaks, wildlife corridors, or other practices deemed appropriate by CCC under the original terms of a contract subject to this part or for land devoted to eligible practices under a contract modified under §1410.10, the participant may specify the duration of the contract between 10 years and 15 years in length.

(c) All contracts shall expire on September 30 of the appropriate year.

§1410.8   Conservation priority areas.

(a) CCC may designate National conservation priority areas according to paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Subject to CCC review, State FSA committees, in consultation with NRCS and the State Technical Committee, may designate conservation priority areas within guidelines established by the Deputy Administrator. Such designation must clearly define conservation and environmental objectives and provide analysis of how CRP can cost-effectively address such objectives. Generally, the total acreage of all conservation priority areas, in aggregate, shall not total more than 33 percent of the cropland in a State unless there are identified and documented extraordinary environmental needs, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(c) As determined by the Deputy Administrator, a region shall be eligible for designation as a priority area only if the region has actual significant adverse water quality, air quality, wildlife habitat, or other natural resource impacts related to activities of agricultural production, or if the designation helps agricultural producers to comply with Federal and State environmental laws.

(d) Conservation priority area designations shall expire after 5 years unless re-designated, except they may be withdrawn:

(1) At the request of the appropriate State water quality agency; or

(2) By the Deputy Administrator.

(e) In those areas designated as conservation priority areas, under this section, cropland is considered eligible for enrollment according §1410.6(b)(10) based on identified environmental concerns. These concerns may include water quality, such as assisting agricultural producers to comply with nonpoint source pollution requirements, air quality, or wildlife habitat (especially for threatened and endangered species or those species that may become threatened and endangered), as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

§1410.9   Conversion to trees.

An owner or operator who has entered into a CRP contract prior to November 28, 1990, may elect to convert areas of highly erodible cropland, subject to such contract, that is devoted to permanent vegetative cover, from such cover to hardwood trees, (including alley cropping and riparian buffers of hardwood trees, where permitted by CCC), windbreaks, shelterbelts, or wildlife corridors.

(a) For any contract modified under this section, the participant may elect to extend such contract in accordance with the provisions of §1410.7(b).

(b) For any contract modified under this section in which such areas are converted to windbreaks, shelterbelts, or wildlife corridors, the owner must agree to maintain such plantings for a time period established by the Deputy Administrator at the time of the contract modification.

(c) CCC shall, as it determines appropriate, pay up to 50 percent of the eligible cost of establishing new conservation measures authorized under this section, except that the total cost-share paid under such contract, including cost-share assistance paid when the original cover was established, may not exceed the amount by which CCC would have paid had such land been originally devoted to such new conservation measures.

(d) For any contract modified under this section, the participant must participate in the Forest Stewardship Program (16 U.S.C. 2103a).

§1410.10   Restoration of wetlands.

(a) An owner or operator who entered into a CRP contract on land that is suitable for restoration to wetlands or that was restored to wetlands while under such contract, may, if approved by CCC, subject to any restrictions as may be imposed by law, apply to transfer such eligible acres subject to such contract that are devoted to an approved cover from the CRP to the WRP. Transferred acreage shall be terminated from the CRP effective the day a WRP easement is filed. Participants will receive a prorated CRP annual payment for that part of the year the acreage was enrolled in the CRP according to §1410.42. Refunds of cost-share payments or applicable incentive payments need not be refunded unless specified by the Deputy Administrator.

(b) An owner or operator who has enrolled acreage in the CRP may, as determined and approved by CCC, restore suitable acres to wetlands with cost-share assistance provided that Federal cost-share assistance has not been received for wetland restoration on the same land. In addition to the cost-share limitation in §1410.41, an additional one-time financial incentive may be provided to encourage restoration of the hydrology of the site.

§1410.11   Farmable Wetlands Program.

(a) In addition to other allowable enrollments, land may be enrolled in this program through the Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) within the overall Conservation Reserve Program provided for in this part.

(b) As determined by CCC, eligible owners and operators may enroll land in FWP provided that the land:

(1) Is a wetland, including a converted wetland, as determined by CCC, that has been planted or considered planted to an agricultural commodity, as defined in §1410.2, in 3 of the 10 most recent crop years and that does not exceed the size limitations of this section;

(2) Is enrolled to be a constructed wetland that is to be developed to receive flow from a row crop agriculture drainage system and is designed to provide nitrogen removal in addition to other wetland functions and that does not exceed the size limitations of this section;

(3) Was a commercial pond-raised aquaculture facility in any year during the period of calendar years 2002 through 2007; or

(4) Was cropped, after January 1, 1990, and before December 31, 2002, at least 3 of 10 crop years, was subject to the natural overflow of a prairie wetland, and does not exceed the size limitations of this section.

(c) In addition, land may be enrolled in FWP if the land is buffer acreage that provides protection for and is contiguous to land otherwise eligible under paragraphs (b)(1), (b)(2), or (b)(4) of this section, subject to other provisions of this section.

(d) Total enrollment in CRP under this section may not exceed 1 million acres. In addition, the maximum size of a land enrolled under this section may not exceed, as determined by CCC:

(1) 40 contiguous acres for land made eligible by paragraph (b)(1) of this section;

(2) 40 contiguous acres for land made eligible by paragraph (b)(2) of this section;

(3) 20 contiguous acres for land made eligible by paragraph (b)(4) of this section; or

(4) A suitable buffer as determined by the Deputy Administrator for lands added under paragraph (c) of this section.

(e) All participants subject to a CRP contract under this section must agree to establish and maintain, as appropriate, the practice described in paragraph (b) of this section to the maximum extent possible, as determined by CCC, in accordance with NRCS FOTG including, as appropriate, restoring the hydrology of the wetland and establishing vegetative cover (which may include emerging vegetation in water and bottomland hardwoods, cypress, and other appropriate tree species in shallow water areas), as determined by CCC.

(f) Offers for contracts under this section must be submitted under continuous signup provisions as authorized in §1410.30.

(g) Except as otherwise determined by CCC, all other requirements of this part apply to enrollments under this section, and CCC may add such other requirements or conditions as it deems necessary. Such additional conditions include, but are not limited to, payment limitations, adjusted gross income limitations, and limitations on the amount of acreage that can be enrolled in any one county.

[74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009]

§1410.12   Emergency Forestry Program.

(a) In addition to other allowable enrollments, certain non-industrial private forest land located in Presidential- or Secretarial-declared primary disaster counties that suffered damage from hurricanes in calendar year 2005 may be enrolled through the Emergency Forestry Conservation Reserve Program (EFCRP) provided for in this section.

(b) Owners and/or operators may enroll non-industrial private forest land, as defined in §1410.2, in the CRP provided that the private non-industrial forest land:

(1) Has merchantable timber (timber on land on which the average tree has a trunk diameter of at least six inches measured at a point no less than four and one-half feet above the ground); and

(2) Has experienced a loss of 35 percent or more of merchantable timber in a 2005 calendar year hurricane-affected county due to 2005 hurricanes.

(c) The provisions of §1410.4 do not apply to this section.

(d) Any overall acreage enrollment limit imposed on CRP shall not apply to acreage enrolled under this section.

(e) All participants subject to a CRP contract entered into pursuant to this section must agree:

(1) To restore the land, through site preparation and planting of, to the maximum extent practicable, native species or similar species as existing prior to hurricane damages as may be specified in the contract, and comply with other requirements as may be specified in the contract;

(2) To establish temporary vegetative cover; and

(3) That the contract term shall be for a period of 10 years, during which time standing timber may not be harvested from the enrolled land except as may be approved by CCC in the conservation plan as part of the normal maintenance of the forest land.

(f) Offers for contracts under this section shall be submitted under continuous signup provisions as authorized in §1410.30.

(g) In evaluating contract offers to which this section applies, different factors, as determined by CCC, may be considered for priority purposes. These include but are not limited to soil erosion prevention, water quality improvement, wildlife habitat restoration, and mitigation of economic loss.

(h) In return for a contract entered into under this paragraph, a participant may opt for:

(1) Annual rental payments authorized by §1410.42, except that the payment rate shall be equal to:

(i) The average rental rate for CRP contracts in the county in which the land is actually located; or

(ii) In the case where no CRP contracts are enrolled in a county, the average rental rate will be the CRP rate applicable to a nearby similarly-situated county.

(2) In lieu of the annual payments provided for in paragraph (h)(1) of this section, lump sum payment equal to the present value of the total amount of annual rental payments that would otherwise be paid under paragraph (h)(1) of this section.

(i) Cost-share assistance authorized under §1410.40 may be reduced by the value of salvaged timber or timber products which are removed to prepare the site for replanting.

(j) The provisions of §1410.7(c), which concern enrollment limits, do not apply to contracts to which this section applies.

(k) To avoid duplicate payments, participants under this section are not eligible to receive EFCRP funding for land on which the participant has or will receive funding under any other program that covers the same expenses.

(l) All other requirements of this part shall apply to enrollments under this section.

[71 FR 31917, June 2, 2006]

§§1410.13-1410.19   [Reserved]

§1410.20   Obligations of participant.

(a) All participants subject to a CRP contract must agree to:

(1) Carry out the terms and conditions of such CRP contract;

(2) Implement the conservation plan, which is part of such contract, in accordance with the schedule of dates included in such conservation plan unless the Deputy Administrator determines that the participant cannot fully implement the conservation plan for reasons beyond the participant's control, and CCC agrees to a modified plan. However, a contract will not be terminated for failure to establish an approved vegetative or water cover on the land if, as determined by the Deputy Administrator:

(i) The failure to plant or establish such cover was due to excessive rainfall, flooding, or drought;

(ii) The land subject to the contract on which the participant could practicably plant or establish to such cover is planted or established to such cover; and

(iii) The land on which the participant was unable to plant or establish such cover is planted or established to such cover after the wet or drought conditions that prevented the planting or establishment subside;

(3) Establish temporary vegetative cover either when required by the conservation plan or, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, if the permanent vegetative cover cannot be timely established;

(4) Comply with part 12 of this title;

(5) Not allow grazing, harvesting, or other commercial use of any crop from the cropland subject to such contract except for those periods of time approved in accordance with instructions issued by the Deputy Administrator;

(6) Establish and maintain the required vegetative or water cover and the required practices on the land subject to such contract and take other actions that may be required by CCC to achieve the desired environmental benefits and to maintain the productive capability of the soil throughout the contract period;

(7) Comply with noxious weed laws of the applicable State or local jurisdiction on such land;

(8) Control on land subject to such contract all weeds, insects, pests and other undesirable species to the extent necessary to ensure that the establishment and maintenance of the approved cover as necessary or may be specified in the CRP conservation plan and to avoid an adverse impact on surrounding land, taking into consideration water quality, wildlife, and other needs, as determined by the Deputy Administrator; and

(9) Be jointly and severally responsible, if the participant has a share of the payment greater than zero, with the other contract participants in compliance with the provisions of such contract and the provisions of this part and for any refunds or payment adjustments that may be required for violations of any of the terms and conditions of the CRP contract and this part.

§1410.21   Obligations of the Commodity Credit Corporation.

CCC shall, subject to the availability of funds:

(a) Share up to 50 percent of the cost with participants of establishing eligible practices specified in the conservation plan at the levels and rates of cost-sharing determined in accordance with the provisions of this part; and

(b) Pay to the participant for a period of years not in excess of the contract period an annual rental payment, including applicable incentive payments, in such amounts as may be specified in the CRP contract.

§1410.22   CRP conservation plan.

(a) The producer shall obtain a CRP conservation plan that complies with CCC guidelines and is approved by the conservation district for the land to be entered in the CRP. If the conservation district declines to review the CRP conservation plan, or disapproves the conservation plan, such approval may be waived by CCC.

(b) The practices and management activities included in the CRP conservation plan and agreed to by the participant must cost-effectively reduce erosion necessary to maintain the productive capability of the soil, improve water quality, protect wildlife or wetlands, protect a public well head, or achieve other environmental benefits as applicable. The producer must undertake management activities on the land as needed throughout the term of the CRP contract to implement the conservation plan.

(c) If applicable, a tree planting plan shall be developed and included in the CRP conservation plan. Such tree planting plan may allow up to 3 years to complete plantings if 10 or more acres of hardwood trees are to be established.

(d) If applicable, the CRP conservation plan shall address the goals included in the conservation priority area designation authorized under §1410.8.

(e) All CRP conservation plans and revisions of such plans shall be subject to the approval of CCC.

(f) Mid-cover management shall be conducted according to an approved conservation plan as part of the CRP contractual obligation such as light discing and burning as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009]

§1410.23   Eligible practices.

(a) Eligible practices are those practices specified in the conservation plan that meet all standards needed to cost-effectively:

(1) Establish permanent vegetative or water cover, including introduced or native species of grasses and legumes, forest trees, and permanent wildlife habitat;

(2) Meet other environmental benefits, as applicable, for the contract period; and

(3) Accomplish other purposes of the program.

(b) Water cover is eligible cover for purposes of paragraph (a) of this section only if approved by the Deputy Administrator for purposes such as the enhancement of wildlife or the improvement of water quality. Such water cover shall not include ponds for the purpose of watering livestock, irrigating crops, or raising aquiculture for commercial purposes.

§§1410.24-1410.29   [Reserved]

§1410.30   Signup.

Offers for contracts shall be submitted only during signup periods as announced periodically by the Deputy Administrator, except that CCC may hold a continuous signup for land to be devoted to particular uses, as CCC deems necessary. Generally, continuous signup is limited to those offers that would otherwise rank highly under §1410.31(b) and may include high priority practices such as filter strips, riparian buffers, shelterbelts, field windbreaks, and living snow fences, grass waterways, shallow water areas for wildlife, salt-tolerant vegetation, and practices to benefit certain approved public wellhead protection areas.

§1410.31   Acceptability of offers.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, producers may submit offers for the amounts they are willing to accept as rental payments to enroll their acreage in the CRP. The offers may, to the extent practicable, be evaluated on a competitive basis in which the offers selected will be those where the greatest environmental benefits relative to cost are generated, and provided that the offer is not in excess of the maximum acceptable payment rate established by the Deputy Administrator for the for the area offered. Acceptance or rejection of any offer, however, shall be in the sole discretion of the CCC and offers may be rejected for any reason as determined needed to accomplish the goals of the program.

(b) In evaluating contract offers, different factors, as determined by CCC, may be considered from time to time for priority purposes to accomplish the goals of the program. Such factors may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Soil erosion;

(2) Water quality (both surface and ground water);

(3) Wildlife benefits;

(4) Soil productivity;

(5) Likelihood that enrolled land will remain in non-agriculture use beyond the contract period, considering, for example, tree planting, permanent wildlife habitat, or commitments by a participant to a State or other entity to extend the conservation plan;

(6) Air quality; and

(7) Cost of enrolling acreage in the program.

(c) Notwithstanding paragraph (b) of this section, when all other appropriate factors are equivalent, CCC may give preference to offers from residents of the county or contiguous county where the offered land is located.

(d) Acreage determined eligible for continuous signup, as provided in §1410.30, may be automatically accepted in the program if the:

(1) Land is eligible under §1410.6, as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(2) A producer is eligible under §1410.5; and

(3) A producer accepts either the maximum payment rate CCC is willing to offer to enroll the acreage in the program or a lesser rate.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010]

§1410.32   CRP contract.

(a) In order to enroll land in the CRP, the participant must enter into a contract with CCC.

(b) The CRP contract is comprised of:

(1) The terms and conditions for participation in the CRP;

(2) The CRP conservation plan; and

(3) Any other materials or agreements determined necessary by CCC.

(c)(1) In order to enter into a CRP contract, the producer must submit an offer to participate as provided in §1410.30;

(2) An offer to enroll land in the CRP shall be irrevocable for such period as is determined and announced by CCC. The producer shall be liable to CCC for liquidated damages if the applicant revokes an offer during the period in which the offer is irrevocable as determined by the Deputy Administrator. CCC may waive payment of such liquidated damages if CCC determines that the assessment of such damages, in a particular case, is not in the best interest of CCC and the program.

(d) The CRP contract must, within the dates established by CCC, be signed by:

(1) The producer; and

(2) The owners of the cropland to be placed in the CRP and other eligible participants, if applicable.

(e) The Deputy Administrator is authorized to approve CRP contracts on behalf of CCC.

(f) CRP contracts may be terminated by CCC before the full term of the contract has expired if:

(1) The owner loses control of or transfers all or part of the acreage under contract and the new owner does not wish to continue the contract;

(2) The participant voluntarily requests in writing to terminate the contract and obtains the approval of CCC according to terms and conditions as determined by CCC;

(3) The participant is not in compliance with the terms and conditions of the contract;

(4) Acreage is enrolled in another Federal, State or local conservation program;

(5) The CRP practice fails or is not established after a certain time period, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, and the cost of restoring the practice outweighs the benefits received from the restoration;

(6) The CRP contract was approved based on erroneous eligibility determinations; or

(7) CCC determines that such a termination is needed in the public interest.

(g)(1) Contracts for land enrolled in CRP before January 1, 1995, that have been continuously in effect may be unilaterally terminated by all CRP participants on a contract except for contract acreage:

(i) Located within a certain distance determined appropriate by the applicable FOTG of a perennial stream, or other permanent waterbody to reduce pollution and to protect surface and subsurface water quality;

(ii) On which a CRP easement is filed;

(iii) That is considered to be a wetland by USDA according to part 12 of this title;

(iv) Located within a wellhead protection area;

(v) That is subject to frequent flooding, as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(vi) That may be required to serve as a wetland buffer according to the FOTG to protect the functions and values of a wetland; or

(vii) On which there exist one or more of the following practices, installed or developed as a result of participation in the CRP or as otherwise required by the conservation plan:

(A) Grass waterways;

(B) Filter strips;

(C) Shallow water areas for wildlife;

(D) Bottom land timber established on wetlands;

(E) Field windbreaks; and

(F) Shelterbelts.

(2) With respect to terminations under this paragraph:

(i) Any land for which an early termination is sought by the participant must have an EI of 15 or less;

(ii) The termination shall become effective 60 days from the date the participant submits notification to CCC of the participant's desire to terminate the contract;

(iii) Acreage terminated under this provision is eligible to be re-offered for CRP during future signup periods, provided that the acreage otherwise meets the current eligibility criteria; and

(iv) Participants must meet conservation compliance requirements of part 12 of this title to the extent applicable to other land.

(h) Except as allowed and approved by CCC where the new owner of land enrolled in CRP is a Federal agency that agrees to abide by the terms and conditions of the terminated contract, the participant in a contract that has been terminated must refund all or part of the payments made with respect to the contract plus interest thereon, as determined by CCC, and shall pay liquidated damages as provided for in the contract. CCC may permit the amount to be repaid to be reduced to the extent that such a reduction will not impair the purposes of the program. Further, a refund of all payments need not be required from a participant who is otherwise in full compliance with the CRP contract when the land is purchased by or for the United States, as determined by CCC.

§1410.33   Contract modifications.

(a) As agreed between CCC and the participant, a CRP contract may be modified in order to:

(1) Decrease acreage in the CRP;

(2) Permit the production of an agricultural commodity under extraordinary circumstances during a crop year on all or part of the land subject to the CRP contract as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(3) Facilitate the practical administration of the CRP;

(4) During the final year of the CRP contract's term, facilitate a transition of land subject to the contract from a retired or retiring owner or operator to a beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher for the purpose of returning some or all of the land into production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods; provided that for this purpose “sustainable grazing and crop production methods” will be considered, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, to be methods that would be designed as part of an overall plan defined on an ecosystem level to be useful in the creation of integrated systems of plant and animal production practices that have a site specific application that would:

(i) Meet human needs for food and fiber;

(ii) Enhance the environment and the natural resource base;

(iii) Use nonrenewable resources efficiently; and

(iv) Sustain the economic viability of farming operation; or

(5) Accomplish the goals and objectives of the CRP, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(b) CCC may modify CRP contracts to add, delete, or substitute practices when, as determined by the Deputy Administrator:

(1) The installed practice failed to adequately provide for the desired environmental benefit through no fault of the participant; or

(2) The installed measure deteriorated because of conditions beyond the control of the participant; and

(3) Another practice will achieve at least the same level of environmental benefit.

(c) Offers to extend contracts may be made as allowed by law.

(d) CCC may terminate a CRP contract if the participant agrees to such termination and CCC determines such termination to be in the public interest.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 27169, May 14, 2010]

§§1410.34-1410.39   [Reserved]

§1410.40   Cost-share payments.

(a) Cost-share payments shall be made available upon a determination by CCC that an eligible practice, or an identifiable unit thereof, has been established in compliance with the appropriate standards and specifications.

(b) Except as otherwise provided for in this part, cost-share payments may be made only for the cost-effective establishment or installation of an eligible practice, as determined by CCC.

(c) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, cost-share payments shall not be made to the same owner or operator on the same acreage for any eligible practices that have been previously established, or for which such owner or operator has received cost-share assistance from any Federal agency.

(d) Except as provided for under §1410.9(c), cost-share payments may be authorized for the replacement or restoration of practices for which cost-share assistance has been previously allowed under the CRP, only if:

(1) Replacement or restoration of the practice is needed to achieve adequate erosion control, enhance water quality, wildlife habitat, or increase protection of public wellheads; and

(2) The failure of the original practice was due to reasons beyond the control of the participant.

(e) The cost-share payment made to a participant shall not exceed the participant's actual contribution to the cost of establishing the practice and the amount of the cost-share may not be an amount that, when added to such assistance from other sources, exceeds the cost of the practices.

(f) CCC shall not make cost-share payments with respect to a CRP contract if any other Federal cost-share assistance has been, or is being, made with respect to the establishment of the cover crop on land subject to such contract.

(g) CCC may make cost-share payments for thinning of existing tree stands to benefit wildlife habitat and other resource conditions on enrolled land, as determined by CCC.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009]

§1410.41   Levels and rates for cost-share payments.

(a) As determined by the Deputy Administrator, CCC shall not pay more than 50 percent of the actual or average cost of establishing eligible practices specified in the conservation plan. CCC may allow cost-share payments for maintenance costs, consistent with the provisions of §1410.40 and CCC may determine the period and amount of such cost-share payments.

(b) The average cost of performing a practice may be determined by CCC based on recommendations from the State Technical Committee. Such cost may be the average cost in a State, a county, or a part of a State or county, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(c) Except as otherwise provided, a participant may, in addition to any payment under this part, receive cost-share assistance, rental payments, or tax benefits from a State or a private organization in return for enrolling lands in CRP. However, as provided under §1410.40(f), a participant may not receive or retain CRP cost-share assistance if other Federal cost-share assistance is provided for such acreage, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. Further, under no circumstances may the cost-share payments received under this part, or otherwise, exceed the cost of the practice, as determined by CCC.

§1410.42   Annual rental payments.

(a) Subject to the availability of funds, annual rental payments shall be made in such amount and in accordance with such time schedule as may be agreed upon and specified in the CRP contract.

(b) Annual rental payments, except for land accepted that was formerly enrolled under the WBP, include a payment based on a weighted average soil rental rate or marginal pastureland rental rate, as appropriate, and an incentive payment as a portion of the annual payment of certain practices, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. Payments for land accepted that was formerly enrolled under the WBP are limited to annual rental payments received under the WBP.

(c) The annual rental payment shall be divided among the participants on a single contract as agreed to in such contract.

(d) The maximum amount of rental payments that a person or legal entity may receive, directly or indirectly, under CRP for any fiscal year must not exceed $50,000. The regulations in part 1400 of this chapter will be applicable for determining whether the limit has been exceeded.

(e) In the case of a contract succession, annual rental payments shall be divided between the predecessor and the successor participants as agreed to among the participants and approved by CCC. If there is no agreement among the participants, annual rental payments shall be divided in such manner deemed appropriate by the Deputy Administrator and such distribution may be prorated based on the actual days of ownership of the property by each party.

(f) CCC shall, when appropriate, prepare a schedule for each county that shows the maximum soil rental rate CCC may pay which may be supplemented to reflect special contract requirements. As determined by the Deputy Administrator, such schedule will be calculated based on the relative productivity of soils within the county using NRCS data and local FSA average cash rental estimates. The schedule will be available in the local FSA office and, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, shall indicate, when appropriate, that:

(1) Offers of contracts by producers who request rental payments greater than the schedule for their soil(s) will be rejected;

(2) Offers of contracts submitted under continuous signup authorized at §1410.30 may be accepted without further evaluation when the requested rental rate is less than or equal to the calculated weighted soil rental rate, based on the three predominant soils listed; and

(3) Otherwise qualifying offers shall be ranked competitively based on factors established under §1410.31 of this part in order to provide the most cost-effective environmental benefits, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(g) Additional financial incentives may be provided to producers who offer contracts expected to provide especially high environmental benefits, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009]

§1410.43   Method of payment.

Except as provided in §1410.50, payments made by CCC under this part may be made in cash or other methods of payment in accordance with part 1401 of this chapter, unless otherwise specified by CCC.

§1410.44   Average adjusted gross income.

(a) Benefits under this part will not be available to persons or legal entities whose average adjusted gross income exceeds $1,000,000 or as further specified in part 1400 subpart F of this chapter.

(b) The limit specified in paragraph (a) of this section may be waived as specified in part 1400 subpart F of this chapter.

[74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009]

§§1410.45-1410.49   [Reserved]

§1410.50   Enhancement programs.

(a) For contracts to which a State, political subdivision, or agency thereof, has succeeded in connection with an approved conservation reserve state enhancement program, payments shall be made in the form of cash only. The provisions that limit the amount of payments per year that a person may receive under this part shall not be applicable to payments received by such State, political subdivision, or agency thereof in connection with agreements entered into under such enhancement programs carried out by such State, political subdivision, or agency thereof that has been approved for that purpose by CCC.

(b) CCC may enter into other conservation reserve enhancement program agreements in accordance with terms deemed appropriate by CCC, with a State, political subdivision, or agency thereof, to use the CRP to cost-effectively further specific conservation and environmental objectives of that State and the nation.

§1410.51   Transfer of land.

(a)(1) If a new owner or operator purchases or obtains the right and interest in, or right to occupancy of, the land subject to a CRP contract, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, such new owner or operator, upon the approval of CCC, may become a participant to a new CRP contract with CCC for the transferred land.

(2) For the transferred land, if the new owner or operator becomes a successor to the existing CRP contract, the new owner or operator shall assume all obligations of the CRP contract of the previous participant.

(3) If the new owner or operator is approved as a successor to a CRP contract with CCC, then, except as otherwise determined appropriate by the Deputy Administrator:

(i) Cost-share payments shall be made to the past or present participant who established the practice; and

(ii) Annual rental payments to be paid during the fiscal year when the land was transferred shall be divided between the new participant and the previous participant in the manner specified in §1410.42.

(b) If a participant transfers all or part of the right and interest in, or right to occupancy of, land subject to a CRP contract and the new owner or operator does not become a successor to such contract within 60 days, or such other time as the Deputy Administrator determines to be appropriate, of such transfer, such contract shall be terminated with respect to the affected portion of such land and the original participant:

(1) Forfeits all rights to any future payments for that acreage;

(2) Shall refund all previous payments received under the contract by the participant or prior participants, plus interest, except as otherwise specified by the Deputy Administrator. The provisions of §1410.32(h) shall apply.

(c) Federal agencies acquiring property, by foreclosure or otherwise, that contains CRP contract acreage cannot be a party to the contract by succession. However, through an addendum to the CRP contract, if the current operator of the property is one of the contract participants, such operator may, as permitted by CCC, continue to receive payments under such contract if:

(1) The property is maintained in accordance with the terms of the contract;

(2) Such operator continues to be the operator of the property; and

(3) Ownership of the property remains with such federal agency.

§1410.52   Violations.

(a)(1) If a participant fails to carry out the terms and conditions of a CRP contract, CCC may terminate the CRP contract.

(2) If the CRP contract is terminated by CCC in accordance with this paragraph:

(i) The participant shall forfeit all rights to further payments under such contract and refund all payments previously received together, plus interest; and

(ii) Pay liquidated damages to CCC in an amount as specified in the contract.

(b) If the Deputy Administrator determines such failure does not warrant termination of such contract, the Deputy Administrator may authorize relief as the Deputy Administrator deems appropriate.

(c) CCC may reduce a demand for a refund under this section to the extent CCC determines that such relief would be appropriate and will not deter the accomplishment of the goals of the program.

(d) Crop insurance purchase requirements in part 1405 of this chapter apply to contracts executed in accordance with this part.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 26763, May 14, 2004]

§1410.53   Executed CRP contract not in conformity with regulations.

If, after a CRP contract is approved by CCC, it is discovered that such CRP contract is found to contain material errors of fact or is not in conformity with this part, these regulations will prevail, and CCC may, at its sole discretion, terminate or modify the CRP contract, effective immediately or at a later date as CCC determines appropriate.

[74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009]

§1410.54   Performance based upon advice or action of the Department.

The provisions of §718.8 of this chapter relating to performance based upon the action or advice of an authorized representative of the Department shall be applicable to this part, and may be considered as a basis to provide relief to persons subject to sanctions under this part to the extent that relief is otherwise required by this part.

§1410.55   Access to land under contract.

(a) Any representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or designee thereof, shall, for purposes related to this program, be provided by the offeror or participant as the case may be, with access to land that is:

(1) The subject of an application for a contract under this part; or

(2) Under contract or otherwise subject to this part.

(b) For land identified in paragraph (a) of this section, the participant or producer shall provide such representatives with access to examine records for the land to determine land classification, erosion rates, or other purposes and to determine whether it is in compliance with the terms and conditions of the CRP contract.

§1410.56   Division of payments and provisions about tenants and sharecroppers.

(a) Payments received under this part shall be divided as specified in the applicable contract and CCC shall ensure that producers who would have an interest in acreage being offered receive treatment that is equitable, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. CCC may refuse to enter into a contract when there is a disagreement among persons seeking enrollment as to a person's eligibility to participate in the contract as a tenant and there is insufficient evidence to indicate whether the person seeking participation as a tenant does or does not have an interest in the acreage offered for enrollment in the CRP.

(b) CCC may remove an operator or tenant from a CRP contract when:

(1) The operator or tenant requests in writing to be removed from the CRP contract;

(2) The operator or tenant files for bankruptcy and the trustee or debtor in possession fails to affirm the contract, to the extent permitted by applicable bankruptcy laws;

(3) The operator or tenant dies during the contract period and the administrator of the estate fails to succeed to the contract within a period of time determined by the Deputy Administrator; or

(4) A court of competent jurisdiction orders the removal from the CRP contract of the operator or tenant and such order is received by FSA, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(c) In addition to paragraph (b) of this section, tenants shall maintain their tenancy throughout the contract period in order to remain on a contract. Tenants who fail to maintain tenancy on the acreage under contract, including failure to comply with applicable State law, may be removed from a contract by CCC. CCC shall assume the tenancy is being maintained unless notified otherwise by a party to contract.

§1410.57   Payments not subject to claims.

Subject to part 1403 of this chapter, any cost-share or annual payment or portion thereof due any person under this part shall be allowed without regard to questions of title under State law, and without regard to any claim or lien in favor of any creditor, except agencies of the United States Government.

§1410.58   Assignments.

Participants may assign the right to receive such cash payments, in whole or in part, as provided in part 1404 of this chapter.

§1410.59   Appeals.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a participant or person seeking participation may appeal or request reconsideration of an adverse determination in accordance with the administrative appeal regulations at parts 11 and 780 of this title.

(b) Determinations by NRCS assigned to make such determination for the Deputy Administrator may be appealed in accordance with procedures established under part 614 of this title or otherwise established by NRCS.

§1410.60   Scheme or device.

(a) If CCC determines that a person has employed a scheme or device to defeat the purposes of this part, or any part, of any program, payment otherwise due or paid such person during the applicable period may be required to be refunded with interest thereon as determined appropriate by CCC.

(b) A scheme or device includes, but is not limited to, coercion, fraud, misrepresentation, depriving any other person of cost-share assistance or annual rental payments, or obtaining a payment that otherwise would not be payable.

(c) A new owner or operator or tenant of land subject to this part who succeeds to the contract responsibilities shall report in writing to CCC any interest of any kind in the land subject to this part that is retained by a previous participant. Such interest shall include a present, future, or conditional interest, reversionary interest, or any option, future or present, on such land, and any interest of any lender in such land where the lender has, will, or can legally obtain, a right of occupancy to such land or an interest in the equity in such land other than an interest in the appreciation in the value of such land occurring after the loan was made. Failure to fully disclose such interest shall be considered a scheme or device under this section.

§1410.61   Filing of false claims.

If CCC determines that any participant has knowingly supplied false information or has knowingly filed a false claim, such participant shall be ineligible for payments under this part with respect to the program year in which the false information or claim was filed and the contract may be terminated, in which case a full refund of all prior payments may be demanded. False information or false claims include, but are not limited to, claims for payment for practices that do not comply with the conservation plan. Any amounts paid under these circumstances shall be refunded, together plus with interest as determined by CCC, and any amounts otherwise due to the participant shall be withheld. The remedies provided for in this section shall be in addition to any and all other remedies, criminal and/or civil, that may apply.

§1410.62   Miscellaneous.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this part, in the case of death, incompetency, or disappearance of any participant, any payments due under this part shall be paid to the participant's successor(s) under part 707 of this title.

(b) Unless otherwise specified in this part, payments under this part shall be subject to the requirements of part 12 of this title concerning highly erodible land and wetland conservation and payments.

(c) Any remedies permitted CCC under this part shall be in addition to any other remedy, including, but not limited to, criminal remedies, or actions for damages in favor of CCC, or the United States, as may be permitted by law; provided further the Deputy Administrator may add to the contract such additional terms as needed to enforce these regulations that shall be binding on the parties and may be enforced to the same degree as provisions of these regulations.

(d) Absent a scheme or device to defeat the purpose of the program, when an owner loses control of CRP acreage due to foreclosure and the new owner chooses not to continue the contract in accordance with §1410.51, refunds shall not be required from any participant on the contract to the extent that the Deputy Administrator determines that forgiving such repayment is appropriate in order to provide fair and equitable treatment.

(e) Cropland enrolled in CRP shall be classified as cropland for the time period enrolled in CRP and, after the time period of enrollment, may be removed from such classification upon a determination by the county committee that such land no longer meets the definition in part 718 of this title.

(f) Research projects may be submitted by the State committee and authorized by the Deputy Administrator to further the purposes of CRP. The research projects must include objectives that are consistent with this part, provide economic and environmental information, not adversely affect local agricultural markets, and be conducted and monitored by a bona fide research entity, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(g) As determined by CCC, incentives may be authorized to foster opportunities for Indian tribes and beginning, limited resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and to enhance long-term environmental goals.

(h) As determined by CCC, consistent with the purposes of CRP, the development of habitat for, and use of conservation practices for, native and managed pollinators may be authorized.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 27169, May 14, 2010; 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010]

§1410.63   Permissive uses.

(a) Unless otherwise specified by the Deputy Administrator, no uses of any kind are authorized on designated CRP acreage during the contract period.

(b) Commercial shooting preserves may be operated on CRP acreage provided:

(1) The commercial shooting preserve is licensed by a State agency such as the State fish and wildlife agency or State department of natural resources;

(2) The commercial shooting preserve is operated in a manner consistent with the applicable State agency rules governing commercial shooting preserves;

(3) CRP cover is maintained according to the conservation plan; and

(4) No barrier fencing or boundary limitations exist that prohibit wildlife access to or from the CRP acreage unless required by State law.

(c) The following activities may be permitted, as determined by CCC, on CRP enrolled land insofar as they are consistent with the conservation purposes of the program including timing, frequency, and duration as provided in an approved CRP conservation plan that identifies appropriate vegetative management requirements:

(1) Managed harvesting, including harvest of biomass, but only in exchange for a payment reduction as determined by CCC and in accordance with harvest frequency and timing of harvesting activities outside the official nesting and broodrearing season only as identified in an approved CRP conservation plan;

(2) Routine grazing, but only in exchange for a payment reduction as determined by CCC and in accordance with appropriate vegetative management requirements and stocking rates for the land, grazing frequency, and grazing periods outside the official nesting and broodrearing season only as identified in an approved CRP conservation plan;

(3) Prescribed grazing to control invasive species, but only in exchange for a payment reduction as determined by CCC and in accordance with appropriate vegetative management requirements and stocking rates for the land, grazing frequency, and grazing periods outside the official nesting and broodrearing season only as identified in an approved CRP conservation plan;

(4) Harvesting, grazing, or other commercial use of the forage on the land in response to a drought or other emergency, but only in exchange for a payment reduction as determined by CCC;

(5) Wind turbines on CRP land installed in numbers and locations as determined appropriate by CCC considering the location, size, and other physical characteristics of the land, the extent to which the land contains wildlife and wildlife habitat, and the purposes of CRP, but only in exchange for a payment reduction as determined by CCC;

(6) Spot grazing, if necessary for control of weed infestation, and not to exceed a 30-day period according to an approved conservation plan, but only in exchange for a payment reduction as determined by CCC;

(7) Forestry maintenance such as pruning, thinning, and timber stand improvement on lands converted to forestry use, but only in accordance with a conservation plan, and only in exchange for a payment reduction as determined by CCC; and

(8) The sale of carbon, water quality, or other environmental credits, as determined appropriate by CCC.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 26763, May 14, 2004; 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010]

§1410.64   Transition Incentives Program.

(a) To be eligible for the Transition Incentives Program, the retired or retiring owner or operator must, except as specified in paragraph (f) of this section:

(1) Have land that is expiring under an existing CRP contract with a 50 percent or greater interest as provided at §1410.42 (c);

(2) Sell or lease (under a qualifying nonrevocable lease of at least 5 years in length) expiring CRP land to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher who will return some or all of the land to production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods;

(3) Modify the CRP contract in accordance with §1410.33(a)(4);

(4) Allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher to begin the organic certification process under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 during the last year of the contract, if requested by that farmer or rancher;

(5) Allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher to develop a conservation plan for the land; and

(6) Allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher to install conservation practices and initiate land improvements that are consistent with the conservation plan during the last year of the contract.

(b) To be eligible for participation in the Transition Incentives Program, the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers must:

(1) Certify that they meet the definition in §1410.2 of either a beginning farmer or rancher or a socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher;

(2) Obtain and implement a conservation plan; and

(3) Implement sustainable grazing or crop production in compliance with the conservation plan by the time specified in the plan.

(c) Eligible beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers will be eligible immediately to reenroll partial field conservation practices in CRP, in accordance with the conservation plan and the provisions of this part, following the expiration of the CRP contract of the qualified retired or retiring owner or operator, provided that the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher has control of the property and meets all other qualifying conditions of CRP, as specified in this part.

(d) Eligible beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers will be eligible to enroll land in the Conservation Stewardship Program or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, as specified in parts 1470 and 1466 of this chapter, provided that their offer to enroll otherwise meets all program conditions, and provided that the CRP contract of the retired or retiring owner or operator has expired and the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher has sufficient control of the property.

(e) As an incentive for selling or leasing land to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher who is not a family member, CCC will pay 2 years of additional CRP annual rental payments at the same contract rate to a retired or retiring owner or operator. The retired or retiring owner or operator must certify that the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is not a family member.

(f) Subject to all other program conditions, incentive payments may be allowed for contracts that have already expired if:

(1) The contract expired on or after June 18, 2008, and contract modification began on or before September 30, 2010;

(2) The transfer to the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher will occur after the contract modification; and

(3) All other program conditions are otherwise met.

(g) Eligible retired or retiring owner or operator and eligible beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher must agree to be jointly and severally responsible, if the participant has a share of the payment greater than zero, with the other Transition Incentive Program agreement participants in compliance with the provisions of such Transition Incentive Program agreement and the provisions of this part and for any payment adjustments that may be required for violations of any of the terms or conditions of the Transition Incentive Program agreement and this part.

[75 FR 27169, May 14, 2010]



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