e-CFR Navigation Aids


Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity


Search History

Search Tips


Latest Updates

User Info


Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We have made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the Feedback button on the bottom right of each page!

e-CFR data is current as of February 25, 2021

Title 7Subtitle BChapter XIVSubchapter CPart 1491Subpart A → §1491.3

Title 7: Agriculture
Subpart A—General Provisions

§1491.3   Definitions.

The following definitions will apply to this part, and all documents issued in accordance with this part, unless specified otherwise:

Agricultural uses are defined by the State's FRPP or equivalent, or where no program exists. Agricultural uses should be defined by the State agricultural use tax assessment program. However, if NRCS finds that a State definition of agriculture is so broad that an included use could lead to the degradation of soils and agriculture productivity, NRCS reserves the right to impose greater deed restrictions on the property than allowable under that State definition of agriculture in order to protect agricultural use and related conservation values.

Certified entity means an eligible entity that NRCS has determined to meet the requirements of §1491.4(d) of this part.

Chief means the Chief of NRCS or designee.

Commodity Credit Corporation is a government-owned and operated entity that was created to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices. The CCC is managed by a Board of Directors, subject to the general supervision and direction of the Secretary of Agriculture, who is an ex-officio director and chairperson of the Board. The CCC provides the funding for FRPP, and NRCS administers FRPP on its behalf.

Conservation easement means a voluntary, legally recorded restriction, in the form of a deed, on the use of property, in order to protect resources such as agricultural lands, historic structures, open space, and wildlife habitat.

Conservation plan is the document that—

(1) Applies to highly erodible cropland;

(2) Describes the conservation system applicable to the highly erodible cropland and describes the decisions of the person with respect to location, land use, tillage systems, and conservation treatment measures and schedules;

(3) Is developed by NRCS in consultation with the landowner through the local soil conservation district, in consultation with the local committees, established under section 8(b)(5) of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 5909h(b)(5)) and the Secretary, or by the Secretary.

Cooperative agreement means the document that specifies the obligations and rights of NRCS and eligible entities participating in the program.

Dedicated fund means an account held by a nongovernmental organization which is sufficiently capitalized for the purpose of covering expenses associated with the management, monitoring, and enforcement of conservation easements and where such account cannot be used for other purposes.

Eligible entity means Indian Tribe, State government, local government, or a nongovernmental organization which has a farmland protection program that purchases agricultural conservation easements for the purpose of protecting agriculture use and related conservation values by limiting conversion to non-agricultural uses of the land.

Eligible land means privately owned land on a farm or ranch that NRCS has determined to meet the requirements of §1491.4(f) of this part.

Fair market value means the value of a conservation easement as ascertained through standard real property appraisal methods, as established in §1491.4(g).

Farm and ranch land of local importance means farm or ranch land used to produce food, feed, fiber, forage, bio-fuels, and oilseed crops that are not identified as having national or statewide importance. Where appropriate, these lands are to be identified by the local agency or agencies concerned. Farmlands of local importance may include tracts of land that have been designated for agriculture by local ordinance.

Farm and ranch land of statewide importance means, in addition to prime and unique farmland, land that is of statewide importance for the production of food, feed, fiber, forage, bio-fuels, and oil seed crops. Criteria for defining and delineating this land are to be determined by the appropriate State agency or agencies. Generally, additional farmlands of statewide importance include those that are nearly prime farmland and that economically produce high yields of crops when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods. Some may produce as high a yield as prime farmlands if conditions are favorable. In some States, additional farmlands of statewide importance may include tracts of land that have been designated for agriculture by State law in accordance with 7 CFR part 657.

Farm or ranch succession plan means a general plan to address the continuation of some type of agricultural business on the conserved land. The farm or ranch succession plan may include specific intra-family succession agreements or strategies to address business asset transfer planning to create opportunities for beginning farmers or ranchers.

Field Office Technical Guide means the official local NRCS source of resource information and interpretations of guidelines, criteria, and requirements for planning and applying conservation practices and conservation management systems. The Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) contains detailed information on the conservation of soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources applicable to the local area for which it is prepared.

Forest land means a land cover or use category that is at least 10 percent stocked by single-stemmed woody species of any size that will be at least 13 feet tall at maturity. Also included is land bearing evidence of natural regeneration of tree cover (cutover forest or abandoned farmland) that is not currently developed for non-forest use. Ten percent stocked, when viewed from a vertical direction, equates to an aerial canopy cover of leaves and branches of 25 percent or greater.

Forest land of statewide importance means forest land that the State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee, identifies as having ecological or economic significance within the State, and may include forested areas or regions of the State that have been identified through statewide assessments and strategies conducted pursuant to State or Federal law.

Forest management plan means a site-specific plan that is prepared by a professional resource manager, in consultation with the participant, and is approved by the State Conservationist. Forest management plans may include a forest stewardship plan, as specified in section 5 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2103a), another practice plan approved by the State Forester, or another plan determined appropriate by the State Conservationist. The plan complies with applicable Federal, State, Tribal, and local laws, regulations, and permit requirements.

Historical and archaeological resources mean resources that are:

(1) Listed in the National Register of Historic Places (established under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), 16 U.S.C. 470, et seq.);

(2) Formally determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (by the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) and the Keeper of the National Register in accordance with section 106 of the NHPA);

(3) Formally listed in the State or Tribal Register of Historic Places of the SHPO (designated under section 101(b)(1)(B) of the NHPA) or the THPO (designated under section 101(d)(1)(C) of the NHPA); or

(4) Included in the SHPO or THPO inventory with written justification as to why it meets National Register of Historic Places criteria.

Imminent harm means easement violations or threatened violations that, as determined by the Chief, would likely cause immediate and significant degradation to the conservation values; for example, those violations that would adversely impact agriculture use, productivity, and related conservation values or result in the erosion of topsoil beyond acceptable levels as established by NRCS.

Impervious surface means surfaces that are covered by asphalt, concrete, roofs, or any other surface that does not allow water to percolate into the soil.

Indian Tribe means any Indian Tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including 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 et seq.) that is eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Land Evaluation and Site Assessment System means the land evaluation system approved by the State Conservationist used to rank land for farm and ranch land protection purposes, based on soil potential for agriculture, as well as social and economic factors, such as location, access to markets, and adjacent land use. For additional information see the Farmland Protection Policy Act regulation at 7 CFR part 658.

Landowner means a person, legal entity, or Indian Tribe having legal ownership of land and those who may be buying eligible land under a purchase agreement. The term landowner may include all forms of collective ownership including joint tenants, tenants-in-common, and life tenants. State governments, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations that qualify as eligible entities are not eligible as landowners, unless otherwise determined by the Chief.

Natural Resources Conservation Service means an agency of the Department of Agriculture.

Nongovernmental organization means any organization that:

(1) Is organized for, and at all times since, the formation of the organization, and has been operated principally for one or more of the conservation purposes specified in clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of section 170(h)(4)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(2) Is an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of that Code that is exempt from taxation under 501(a) of that Code; and

(3) Is described—

(i) In section 509(a)(1) and (2) of that Code, or

(ii) Is described in section 509(a)(3) of that Code and is controlled by an organization described in section 509(a)(2) of that Code.

Other interests in land include any right in real property other than easements that are recognized by State law. FRPP funds will only be used to purchase other interests in land with prior approval from the Chief.

Other productive soils means farm and ranch land soils, in addition to prime farmland soils, that include unique farmland and farm and ranch land of statewide and local importance.

Parcel means a farm or ranch submitted for consideration for funding under this part.

Pending offer means a written bid, contract, or option extended to a landowner by an eligible entity to acquire a conservation easement before the legal title to these rights has been conveyed for the purpose of limiting non-agricultural uses of the land.

Prime farmland means land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, fiber, forage, oilseed, and other agricultural crops with minimum inputs of fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, and labor without intolerable soil erosion, as determined by the Secretary.

Purchase price means the appraised fair market value of the easement minus the landowner donation.

Right of enforcement means a vested right set forth in the conservation easement deed, equal in scope to the right of inspection and enforcement granted to the grantee, that the Chief, on behalf of the United States, may exercise under specific circumstances in order to enforce the terms of the conservation easement when not enforced by the holder of the easement.

Secretary means the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture.

State Conservationist means the NRCS employee authorized to direct and supervise NRCS activities in a State, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands), or the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

State Technical Committee means a committee established by the Secretary in a State pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 3861 and 7 CFR part 610, subpart C.

Unique farmland means land other than prime farmland that is used for the production of specific high-value food and fiber crops, as determined by the Secretary. It has the special combination of soil quality, location, growing season, and moisture supply needed to economically produce sustained high quality or high yields of specific crops when treated and managed according to acceptable farming methods. Examples of such crops include citrus, tree nuts, olives, cranberries, fruits, and vegetables. Additional information on the definition of prime, unique, or other productive soil can be found in 7 CFR part 657 and 7 CFR part 658.

Need assistance?