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e-CFR data is current as of July 1, 2020

Title 7Subtitle BChapter VIISubchapter BPart 718 → Subpart A


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 718—PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO MULTIPLE PROGRAMS


Subpart A—General Provisions


Contents
§718.1   Applicability.
§718.2   Definitions.
§718.3   State committee responsibilities.
§718.4   Authority for farm entry and providing information.
§718.5   Rule of fractions.
§718.6   Controlled substance.
§718.7   Furnishing maps.
§718.8   Administrative county and servicing FSA county office.
§718.9   Signature requirements.
§718.10   Time limitations.
§718.11   Disqualification due to Federal crop insurance violation.

Source: 68 FR 16172, Apr. 3, 2003, unless otherwise noted.

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§718.1   Applicability.

(a) This part is applicable to all programs specified in chapters VII and XIV of this title that are administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and to any other programs that adopt this part by reference. This part governs how FSA administers marketing quotas, allotments, base acres, and acreage reports for those programs to which this part applies. The regulations to which this part applies are those that establish procedures for measuring allotments and program eligible acreage, for determining program compliance, farm reconstitutions, application of finality, and equitable relief from compliance or ineligibility.

(b) For all programs, except for those administered under parts 761 through 774 of this chapter:

(1) The provisions of this part will be administered under the general supervision of the Administrator, FSA, and carried out in the field by State and county FSA committees (State and county committees);

(2) State and county committees, and representatives and employees thereof, do not have authority to modify or waive any regulations in this part;

(3) No provisions or delegation herein to a State or county committee will preclude the Administrator, FSA, or a designee, from determining any question arising under the program or from reversing or modifying any determination made by a State or county committee;

(4) The Deputy Administrator, FSA, may authorize State and county committees to waive or modify deadlines and other requirements in cases where lateness or failure to meet such other requirements does not adversely affect the operation of the program.

(c) The programs under parts 761 through 774 will be administered according to the part, or parts, applicable to the specific program.

[72 FR 63284, Nov. 8, 2007, as amended at 80 FR 41994, July 16, 2015]

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§718.2   Definitions.

Except as provided in individual parts of chapters VII and XIV of this title, the following terms shall be as defined herein:

Administrative variance (AV) means the amount by which the determined acreage of tobacco may exceed the effective allotment and be considered in compliance with program regulations.

Allotment means an acreage for a commodity allocated to a farm in accordance with the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended.

Allotment crop means any tobacco crop for which acreage allotments are established pursuant to part 723 of this chapter.

Barley means barley that follows the standard planting and harvesting practice of barley for the area in which the barley is grown.

Base acres means, with respect to a covered commodity on a farm, the number of acres in effect on September 30, 2013, as defined in the regulations in part 1412, subpart B, of this title that were in effect on that date, subject to any reallocation, adjustment, or reduction. The term “base acres” includes any generic base acres as specified in part 1412 planted to a covered commodity as specified in part 1412.

Beginning farmer or rancher means a person or legal entity (for legal entities to be considered a beginning farmer or rancher, all members must be related by blood or marriage and all members must be beginning farmers or ranchers) for which both of the following are true for the farmer or rancher:

(1) Has not operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 years; and

(2) Materially and substantially participates in the operation.

CCC means the Commodity Credit Corporation.

Combination means consolidation of two or more farms or parts of farms, having the same operator, into one farm.

Common land unit means the smallest unit of land that has an identifiable border located in one physical location (county), as defined in this part, and all of the following in common:

(1) Owner;

(2) Management;

(3) Cover; and

(4) Where applicable, producer association.

Common ownership unit means a distinguishable parcel of land consisting of one or more tracts of land with the same owners, as determined by FSA.

Constitution means the make-up of the farm before any change is made because of change in ownership or operation.

Contiguous means sharing any part of a boundary but not overlapping.

Contiguous county means a county contiguous to the reference county or counties.

Contiguous county office means the FSA county office that is in a contiguous county.

Controlled environment means, with respect to those crops for which a controlled environment is required or expected to be provided, including but not limited to ornamental nursery, aquaculture (including ornamental fish), and floriculture, as applicable under the particular program, an environment in which everything that can practicably be controlled with structures, facilities, growing media (including but not limited to water, soil, or nutrients) by the producer, is in fact controlled by the producer.

Controlled substances means the term set forth in 21 CFR part 1308.

Corn means field corn or sterile high-sugar corn that follows the standard planting and harvesting practices for corn for the area in which the corn is grown. Popcorn, corn nuts, blue corn, sweet corn, and corn varieties grown for decoration uses are not corn.

County means the county or parish of a state. For Alaska, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, a county shall be an area designated by the State committee with the concurrence of the Deputy Administrator.

County committee means the FSA county committee.

Crop reporting date means the latest date upon which the Administrator, FSA will allow the farm operator, owner, or their agent to submit a crop acreage report in order for the report to be considered timely.

Cropland. (a) Means land which the county committee determines meets any of the following conditions:

(1) Is currently being tilled for the production of a crop for harvest. Land which is seeded by drilling, broadcast or other no-till planting practices shall be considered tilled for cropland definition purposes;

(2) Is not currently tilled, but it can be established that such land has been tilled in a prior year and is suitable for crop production;

(3) Is currently devoted to a one-row or two-row shelter belt planting, orchard, or vineyard;

(4) Is in terraces that, were cropped in the past, even though they are no longer capable of being cropped;

(5) Is in sod waterways or filter strips planted to a perennial cover;

(6) Is preserved as cropland in accordance with part 1410 of this title; or

(7) Is land that has newly been broken out for purposes of being planted to a crop that the producer intends to, and is capable of, carrying through to harvest, using tillage and cultural practices that are consistent with normal practices in the area; provided further that, in the event that such practices are not utilized other than for reasons beyond the producer's control, the cropland determination shall be void retroactive to the time at which the land was broken out.

(b) Land classified as cropland shall be removed from such classification upon a determination by the county committee that the land is:

(1) No longer used for agricultural production;

(2) No longer suitable for production of crops;

(3) Subject to a restrictive easement or contract that prohibits its use for the production of crops unless otherwise authorized by the regulation of this chapter;

(4) No longer preserved as cropland in accordance with the provisions of part 1410 of this title and does not meet the conditions in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(6) of this definition; or

(5) Converted to ponds, tanks or trees other than those trees planted in compliance with a Conservation Reserve Program contract executed pursuant to part 1410 of this title, or trees that are used in one-or two-row shelterbelt plantings, or are part of an orchard or vineyard.

Current year means the year for which allotments, quotas, acreages, and bases, or other program determinations are established for that program. For controlled substance violations, the current year is the year of the actual conviction.

Deputy Administrator means Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, Farm Service Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture or their designee.

Determination means a decision issued by a State, county or area FSA committee or its employees that affects a participant's status in a program administered by FSA.

Determined acreage means that acreage established by a representative of the Farm Service Agency by use of official acreage, digitizing or planimetering areas on the photograph or other photographic image, or computations from scaled dimensions or ground measurements.

Direct and counter-cyclical program (DCP) cropland means land that currently meets the definition of cropland, land that was devoted to cropland at the time it was enrolled in a production flexibility contract in accordance with part 1413 of this title and continues to be used for agricultural purposes, or land that met the definition of cropland on or after April, 4, 1996, and continues to be used for agricultural purposes and not for nonagricultural commercial or industrial use.

Division means the division of a farm into two or more farms or parts of farms.

Double cropping means, as determined by the Deputy Administrator on a regional basis, consecutive planting of two specific crops that have the capability to be planted and carried to maturity for the intended uses, as reported by the producer, on the same acreage within a 12-month period. To be considered double cropping, the planting of two specific crops must be in an area where such double cropping is considered normal, or could be considered normal, for all growers under normal growing conditions and growers are typically able to repeat the same cycle successfully in a subsequent 12-month period.

Entity means a corporation, joint stock company, association, limited partnership, limited liability partnership, limited liability company, irrevocable trust, estate, charitable organization, or other similar organization, including any such organization participating in the farming operation as a partner in a general partnership, a participant in a joint venture, or a participant in a similar organization.

Extra Long Staple (ELS) Cotton means cotton that follows the standard planting and harvesting practices of the area in which the cotton is grown, and meets all of the following conditions:

(1) American-Pima, Sea Island, Sealand, all other varieties of the Barbandense species of cotton and any hybrid thereof, and any other variety of cotton in which 1 or more of these varieties is predominant; and,

(2) The acreage is grown in a county designated as an ELS county by the Secretary; and,

(3) The production from the acreage is ginned on a roller-type gin.

Family member means an individual to whom a person is related as spouse, lineal ancestor, lineal descendant, or sibling, including:

(1) Great grandparent;

(2) Grandparent;

(3) Parent;

(4) Child, including a legally adopted child;

(5) Grandchild

(6) Great grandchildren;

(7) Sibling of the family member in the farming operation; and

(8) Spouse of a person listed in paragraphs (1) through (7) of this definition.

Farm means a tract, or tracts, of land that are considered to be a separate operation under the terms of this part provided further that where multiple tracts are to be treated as one farm, the tracts must have the same operator and must also have the same owner except that tracts of land having different owners may be combined if all owners agree to the treatment of the multiple tracts as one farm for these purposes.

Farm inspection means an inspection by an authorized FSA representative using aerial or ground compliance to determine the extent of producer adherence to program requirements.

Farm number means a number assigned to a farm by the county committee for the purpose of identification.

Farmland means the sum of the DCP cropland, forest, acreage planted to an eligible crop acreage as specified in 1437.3 of this title and other land on the farm.

Field means a part of a farm which is separated from the balance of the farm by permanent boundaries such as fences, permanent waterways, woodlands, and croplines in cases where farming practices make it probable that such cropline is not subject to change, or other similar features.

GIS means Geographic Information System or a system that stores, analyzes, and manipulates spatial or geographically referenced data. GIS computes distances and acres using stored data and calculations.

GPS means Global Positioning System or a positioning system using satellites that continuously transmit coded information. The information transmitted from the satellites is interpreted by GPS receivers to precisely identify locations on earth by measuring distance from the satellites.

Grain sorghum means grain sorghum of a feed grain or dual purpose variety (including any cross that, at all stages of growth, having characteristics of a feed grain or dual purpose variety) that follows the standard planting and harvesting practice for grain sorghum for the area in which the grain sorghum was planted. Sweet sorghum is not considered a grain sorghum.

Ground measurement means the distance between 2 points on the ground, obtained by actual use of a chain tape, GPS with a minimum accuracy level as determined by the Deputy Administrator, or other measuring device.

Intended use means for a crop or a commodity, the end use for which it is grown and produced.

Joint operation means a general partnership, joint venture, or other similar business organization.

Landlord means one who rents or leases farmland to another.

Limited resource farmer or rancher means a farmer or rancher who is both of the following:

(1) A person whose direct or indirect gross farm sales do not exceed $176,800 (2014 program year) in each of the 2 calendar years that precede the most immediately preceding complete taxable year before the relevant program year that corresponds to the relevant program year (for example, for the 2014 program year, the two years would be 2011 and 2012), adjusted upwards in later years for any general inflation; and

(2) A person whose total household income was at or below the national poverty level for a family of four in each of the same two previous years referenced in paragraph (1) of this definition. (Limited resource farmer or rancher status can be determined using a Web site available through the Limited Resource Farmer and Rancher Online Self Determination Tool through National Resource and Conservation Service at http://www.lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov.)

(3) For legal entities, the sum of gross sales and household income must be considered for all members.

Measurement service means a measurement of acreage or farm-stored commodities performed by a representative of FSA and paid for by the producer requesting the measurement.

Measurement service after planting means determining a crop or designated acreage after planting but before the farm operator files a report of acreage for the crop.

Measurement service guarantee means a guarantee provided when a producer requests and pays for an authorized FSA representative to measure acreage for FSA and CCC program participation unless the producer takes action to adjust the measured acreage. If the producer has taken no such action, and the measured acreage is later discovered to be incorrect, the acreage determined pursuant to the measurement service will be used for program purposes for that program year.

Minor child means an individual who is under 18 years of age. For the purpose of programs under chapters VII and XIV of this title, State court proceedings conferring majority on an individual under 18 years of age will not change such an individual's status as a minor.

Nonagricultural commercial or industrial use means land that is no longer suitable for producing annual or perennial crops, including conserving uses, or forestry products.

Normal planting period means that period during which the crop is normally planted in the county, or area within the county, with the expectation of producing a normal crop.

Normal row width means the normal distance between rows of the crop in the field, but not less than 30 inches for all crops.

Oats means oats that follows the standard planting and harvesting practice of oats for the area in which the oats are grown.

Operator means an individual, entity, or joint operation who is determined by the FSA county committee to be in control of the farming operations on the farm.

Owner means one who has legal ownership of farmland, including:

(1) Any agency of the Federal Government; however, such agency is not eligible to receive any program payment;

(2) One who is buying farmland under a contract for deed; or

(3) One who has a life-estate in the property.

Partial reconstitution means a reconstitution that is made effective in the current year for some crops, but is not made effective in the current year for other crops. This results in the same farm having two or more farm numbers in one crop year.

Participant means one who participates in, or receives payments or benefits in accordance with any of the programs administered by FSA.

Pasture means land that is used to, or has the potential to, produce food for grazing animals.

Person means an individual, or an individual participating as a member of a joint operation or similar operation, a corporation, joint stock company, association, limited stock company, limited partnership, irrevocable trust, revocable trust together with the grantor of the trust, estate, or charitable organization including any entity participating in the farming operation as a partner in a general partnership, a participant in a joint venture, a grantor of a revocable trust, or a participant in a similar entity, or a State, political subdivision or agency thereof. To be considered a separate person for the purpose of this part, the individual or other legal entity must:

(1) Have a separate and distinct interest in the land or the crop involved;

(2) Exercise separate responsibility for such interest; and

(3) Be responsible for the cost of farming related to such interest from a fund or account separate from that of any other individual or entity.

Physical location means the political county and State determined by FSA for identifying a tract or common land unit, as applicable, under this part. FSA will consider all the DCP cropland within an original tract to be in one single physical location county and State based upon 95 percent or more of the tract's DCP cropland. For DCP cropland that FSA determines lies outside the physical location (county) of the original tract that is 10 acres or more and more than 5 percent of the original tract, FSA will divide that land from the original tract and establish a new tract for that area.

Planted and considered planted (P&CP) means with respect to an acreage amount, the sum of the planted and prevented planted acres on the farm approved by the FSA county committee for a crop. P&CP is limited to initially planted or prevented planted crop acreage, except for crops planted in an FSA approved double-cropping sequence. Subsequently planted crop acreage and replacement crop acreage are not included as P&CP.

Producer means an owner, operator, landlord, tenant, or sharecropper, who shares in the risk of producing a crop and who is entitled to share in the crop available for marketing from the farm, or would have shared had the crop been produced. A producer includes a grower of hybrid seed.

Quota means the pounds allocated to a farm for a commodity in accordance with the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended.

Random inspection means an examination of a farm by an authorized representative of FSA selected as a part of an impartial sample to determine the adherence to program requirements.

Reconstitution means a change in the land constituting a farm as a result of combination or division.

Reported acreage means the acreage reported by the farm operator, farm owner, farm producer, or their agent on a Form prescribed by the FSA.

Required inspection means an examination by an authorized representative of FSA of a farm specifically selected by application of prescribed rules to determine adherence to program requirements or to verify the farm operator's, farm owner's, farm producer, or agent's report.

Rice means rice that follows the standard planting and harvesting practices of the area excluding sweet, glutinous, or candy rice such as Mochi Gomi.

Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States, or a designee.

Sharecropper means one who performs work in connection with the production of a crop under the supervision of the operator and who receives a share of such crop for its labor.

Skip-row or strip-crop planting means a cultural practice in which strips or rows of the crop are alternated with strips of idle land or another crop.

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, ethnic, or gender prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. 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 or Hispanic-Americans,

(5) Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, and

(6) Women.

Staking and referencing means determining an acreage before planting by:

(1) Measuring or computing a delineated area from ground measurements and documenting the area measured; and, (2) Staking and referencing the area on the ground.

Standard deduction means an acreage that is excluded from the gross acreage in a field because such acreage is considered as being used for farm equipment turn-areas. Such acreage is established by application of a prescribed percentage of the area planted to the crop in lieu of measuring the turn area.

State committee means the FSA State committee.

Subdivision means a part of a field that is separated from the balance of the field by temporary boundary, such as a cropline which could be easily moved or will likely disappear.

Subsequent crop means a crop following an initial crop that is not in an approved double cropping combination.

Tenant means:

(1) One who rents land from another in consideration of the payment of a specified amount of cash or amount of a commodity; or

(2) One (other than a sharecropper) who rents land from another person in consideration of the payment of a share of the crops or proceeds therefrom.

Tolerance means a prescribed amount within which the reported acreage and/or production may differ from the determined acreage and/or production and still be considered as correctly reported.

Tract means a unit of contiguous land under one ownership located in one physical location (county), as defined in this part, which is operated as a farm, or part of a farm.

Tract combination means the combining of two or more tracts if the tracts have common ownership and are contiguous.

Tract division means the dividing of a tract into two or more tracts because of a change in ownership or operation.

Turn-area means the area across the ends of crop rows which is used for operating equipment necessary to the production of a row crop (also called turn row, headland, or end row).

United States means all 50 States of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and any other territory or possession of the United States.

Upland cotton means planted and stub cotton that is not considered extra long staple cotton, and that follows the standard planting and harvesting practices of the area and is produced from other than pure strain varieties of the Barbadense species, any hybrid thereof, or any other variety of cotton in which one or more of these varieties predominate. For program purposes, brown lint cotton is considered upland cotton.

Veteran farmer or rancher means a farmer or rancher who has served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including the reserve components and who:

(1) Has not operated a farm or ranch;

(2) Has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 years; or

(3) Is a veteran (as defined as a person who served in the active duty or either active duty for training or inactive duty during which the individual was disabled, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable) who has first obtained status as a veteran during the most recent 10-year period.

Wheat means wheat for feed or dual purpose variety that follows the standard planting and harvesting practice of wheat for the area in which the wheat is grown.

[68 FR 16172, Apr. 3, 2003; 69 FR 250, Jan. 5, 2004, as amended at 79 FR 74571, Dec. 15, 2014; 80 FR 41994, July 16, 2015; 84 FR 45886, Sept. 3, 2019]

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§718.3   State committee responsibilities.

(a) The State committee shall, with respect to county committees:

(1) Take any action required of the county committee, which the county committee fails to take in accordance with this part;

(2) Correct or require the county committee to correct any action taken by such committee, which is not in accordance with this part; or

(3) Require the county committee to withhold taking any action which is not in accordance with this part.

(b) The State committee shall submit to the Deputy Administrator requests to deviate from deductions prescribed in §718.109, or the error amount or percentage for refunds of redetermination costs as prescribed in §718.112.

[61 FR 37552, July 18, 1996, as amended at 80 FR 41994, July 16, 2015]

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§718.4   Authority for farm entry and providing information.

(a) This section applies to all farms that have a tobacco allotment or quota under part 723 of this chapter and all farms that are currently participating in programs administered by FSA.

(b) A representative of FSA may enter any farm that participates in an FSA or CCC program in order to conduct a farm inspection as defined in this part. A program participant may request that the FSA representative present written authorization for the farm inspection before granting access to the farm. If a farm inspection is not allowed within 30 days of written authorization:

(1) All FSA and CCC program benefits for that farm shall be denied;

(2) The person preventing the farm inspection shall pay all costs associated with the farm inspection;

(3) The entire crop production on the farm will be considered to be in excess of the quota established for the farm; and

(4) For tobacco, the farm operator must furnish proof of disposition of:

(i) All tobacco which is in addition to the production shown on the marketing card issued with respect to such farm; and

(ii) No credit will be given for disposing of excess tobacco other than that identified by a marketing card unless disposed of in the presence of FSA in accordance with §718.109 of this part.

(c) If a program participant refuses to furnish reports or data necessary to determine benefits in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section, or FSA determines that the report or data was erroneously provided through the lack of good faith, all program benefits relating to the report or data requested will be denied.

(d) Program participants requesting program benefits as a beginning farmer or rancher, limited resource farmer or rancher, socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, or veteran farmer or rancher must provide a certification of their status as a member of one of those groups as required by the applicable program provisions.

[68 FR 16172, Apr. 3, 2003, as amended at 84 FR 45886, Sept. 3, 2019]

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§718.5   Rule of fractions.

(a) Fractions shall be rounded after completion of the entire associated computation. All mathematical calculations shall be carried to two decimal places beyond the number of decimal places required by the regulations governing each program. In rounding, fractional digits of 49 or less beyond the required number of decimal places shall be dropped; if the fractional digits beyond the required number of decimal places are 50 or more, the figure at the last required decimal place shall be increased by “1” as follows:

Required decimal Computation Result
Whole numbers6.49 (or less)
6.50 (or more)
6
7
Tenths7.649 (or less)
7.650 (or more)
7.6
7.7
Hundredths8.8449 (or less)
8.8450 (or more)
8.84
8.85
Thousandths9.63449 (or less)
9.63450 (or more)
9.634
9.635
0 thousandths10.993149 (or less)
10.993150 (or more)
10.9931
10.9932

(b) The acreage of each field or subdivision computed for tobacco and CCC disaster assistance programs shall be recorded in acres and hundredths of an acre, dropping all thousandths of an acre. The acreage of each field or subdivision computed for crops, except tobacco, shall be recorded in acres and tenths of an acre, rounding all hundredths of an acre to the nearest tenth.

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§718.6   Controlled substance.

(a) The following terms apply to this section:

(1) USDA benefit means the issuance of any grant, contract, loan, or payment by appropriated funds of the United States.

(2) Person means an individual.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any person convicted under Federal or State law of:

(1) Planting, cultivating, growing, producing, harvesting, or storing a controlled substance in any crop year is ineligible during the crop year of conviction and the four succeeding crop years, for any of the following USDA benefits:

(i) Any payments or benefits under part 1412 of this title;

(ii) Any payments or benefits for losses to crops or livestock covered under disaster programs administered by FSA;

(iii) Any price support loan available in accordance with part 1421 of this title;

(iv) Any price support made under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act;

(v) A farm storage facility loan made under section 4(h) of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act or any other Act;

(vi) Crop Insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act;

(vii) A loan made or guaranteed under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act or any other law administered by FSA's Farm Loan Programs.

(2) Possession or trafficking of a controlled substance, is ineligible for any or all USDA benefits:

(i) At the discretion of the court,

(ii) To the extent and for a period of time the court determines.

(c) If a person denied benefits under this section is a shareholder, beneficiary, or member of an entity or joint operation, benefits for which the entity or joint operation is eligible will be reduced, for the appropriate period, by a percentage equal to the total interest of the shareholder, beneficiary, or member.

[72 FR 63284, Nov. 8, 2007, as amended at 84 FR 45886, Sept. 3, 2019]

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§718.7   Furnishing maps.

(a) A reasonable number, as determined by FSA, of reproductions of photographs, mosaic maps, and other maps will be made available to the owner of a farm, an insurance company reinsured by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), or a private party contractor performing official duties on behalf of FSA, CCC, and other USDA agencies.

(b) For all others, reproductions will be made available at the rate FSA determines will cover the cost of making such items available.

[80 FR 41994, July 16, 2015]

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§718.8   Administrative county and servicing FSA county office.

(a) FSA farm records are maintained in an administrative county determined by FSA. Generally, a farm's administrative county is based on the physical location county of the farm. If all land on the farm is physically located in one physical location county, the farm's records will be administratively located in that physical location county.

(b) In cases where there is no FSA office in the county in which the farm is physically located or where a servicing FSA county office is responsible for more than one administrative county, the farm records will be administratively located as specified in paragraph (a) of this section and with a servicing FSA county office that FSA as designated as responsible for that administrative county.

(c) Farm operators and owners can conduct their farm's business in any FSA county office. FSA's designation of a farm's administrative county is based on where land of the farm is located as specified in paragraph (a) of this section or as might be required under paragraph (b) of this section.

(d) Farm operators and owners can request a change to their servicing FSA county office and that request may necessitate a change to the farm's administrative county as specified in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section. If the requested servicing FSA county office is not responsible for and does not have an administrative county for the physical location of the farm according to paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section and FSA approves the request for change of servicing FSA county office, FSA will designate the administrative county for the farm from those available in the requested servicing FSA county office.

(e) If a county contiguous to the county in which the farm is physically located in the same State does not have a servicing FSA county office, the farm will be administratively located by FSA in a contiguous county in another contiguous State that is convenient to the farm operator and owner. Requests for changes to a farm's servicing FSA county office, which may or may not result in a change to a farm's administrative county under this section, must be submitted to FSA by August 1 of each year for the change to take effect that calendar year.

(f) When land on the farm is physically located in more than one county, the farm will be administered by a servicing FSA county office determined by FSA to be the administrative county responsibility for administration of programs for one or more of the physical counties involved in the farm's constitution. Paragraph (b), (c), or (d) of this section applies if changes occur to the servicing FSA county office and administrative county.

(g) Farm operators and owners cannot request a change to a farm's administrative county. The operator and owner of a farm serviced by an FSA county office responsible for a farm's administrative county can request a change of servicing FSA county office to another FSA servicing county office in the same State by August 1 for the change to take effect that calendar year. Review and approval of any change to the servicing FSA county office is solely at the discretion of FSA. Requests for change in servicing FSA county office, which may or may not result in a change to a farm's administrative county, will be reviewed and approved by county committee if all the following can be determined to apply:

(1) The requested change does not impact the constitution of a farm;

(2) The requested change will not result in increased program eligibility or additional benefits for the farm's producers that would not be earned absent the change in servicing FSA county office and, if applicable, administrative county being made; and

(3) The change is not to circumvent any of the provisions of other program regulations to which this part applies.

(h) The State committee will submit all requests for exceptions from regulations specified in this section to the Deputy Administrator.

[84 FR 45886, Sept. 3, 2019]

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§718.9   Signature requirements.

(a) When a program authorized by this chapter or chapter XIV of this title requires the signature of a producer, landowner, landlord, or tenant, then a spouse may sign all such FSA or CCC documents on behalf of the other spouse, except as otherwise specified in this section, unless such other spouse has provided written notification to FSA and CCC that such action is not authorized. The notification must be provided to FSA for each farm.

(b) A spouse may not sign a document on behalf of the other spouse with respect to:

(1) Program document required to be executed in accordance with part 3 of this title;

(2) Easements entered into under part 1410 of this title;

(3) Power of attorney;

(4) Such other program documents as determined by FSA or CCC.

(c) An individual; duly authorized officer of a corporation; duly authorized partner of a partnership; executor or administrator of an estate; trustee of a trust; guardian; or conservator may delegate to another the authority to act on their behalf with respect to FSA and CCC programs administered by USDA service center agencies by execution of a Power of Attorney, or such other form as approved by the Deputy Administrator. FSA and CCC may, at their discretion, allow the delegations of authority by other individuals through use of the Power of Attorney or such other form as approved by the Deputy Administrator.

(d) Notwithstanding another provision of this regulation or any other FSA or CCC regulation in this title, a parent may execute documents on behalf of a minor child unless prohibited by a statute or court order.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision in this title, an authorized agent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of the United States Department of Interior may sign as agent for landowners with properties affiliated with or under the management or trust of the BIA. For collection purposes, such payments will be considered as being made to the persons who are the beneficiaries of the payment or may, alternatively, be considered as an obligation of all persons on the farm in general. In the event of a need for a refund or other claim may be collected, among other means, by other monies due such persons or the farm.

(f) Documents that were previously acted on and approved by the FSA county office or county committee will not subsequently be determined inadequate or invalid because of the lack of signature authority of any person signing the document on behalf of the applicant or any other individual, entity, general partnership, or joint venture, unless the person signing the program document knowingly and willfully falsified the evidence of signature authority or a signature. However, FSA may require affirmation of the document by those parties deemed appropriate for an affirmation, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. Nothing in this paragraph relieves participants of any other program requirements.

[68 FR 16172, Apr. 3, 2003; 69 FR 250, Jan. 5, 2004, as amended at 80 FR 41995, July 16, 2015]

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§718.10   Time limitations.

Whenever the final date prescribed in any of the regulations in this title for the performance of any act falls on a Saturday, Sunday, national holiday, State holiday on which the office of the county or State Farm Service Agency committee having primary cognizance of the action required to be taken is closed, or any other day on which the cognizant office is not open for the transaction of business during normal working hours, the time for taking required action shall be extended to the close of business on the next working day. Or in case the action required to be taken may be performed by mailing, the action shall be considered to be taken within the prescribed period if the mailing is postmarked by midnight of such next working day. Where the action required to be taken is with a prescribed number of days after the mailing of notice, the day of mailing shall be excluded in computing such period of time.

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§718.11   Disqualification due to Federal crop insurance violation.

(a) Section 515(h) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (FCIA) provides that a person who willfully and intentionally provides false or inaccurate information to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) or to an approved insurance provider with respect to a policy or plan of FCIC insurance, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing on the record, will be subject to one or more of the sanctions described in section 515(h)(3). In section 515(h)(3), the FCIA specifies that in the case of a violation committed by a producer, the producer may be disqualified for a period of up to 5 years from receiving any monetary or non-monetary benefit under a number of programs. The list includes, but is not limited to, benefits under:

(1) The FCIA.

(2) The Agricultural Market Transition Act (7 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.), including the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program under section 196 of that Act (7 U.S.C. 7333).

(3) The Agricultural Act of 1949 (7 U.S.C. 1421 et seq.).

(4) The Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act (15 U.S.C. 714 et seq.).

(5) The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 (7 U.S.C. 1281 et seq.).

(6) Title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.).

(7) The Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1921 et seq.).

(8) Any law that provides assistance to a producer of an agricultural commodity affected by a crop loss or a decline in prices of agricultural commodities.

(b) Violation determinations are made by FCIC. However, upon notice from FCIC to FSA that a producer has been found to have committed a violation to which paragraph (a) of this section applies, that person will be ineligible for payments under the programs specified in paragraph (a) of this section that are funded by FSA for the same period of time for which, as determined by FCIC, the producer will be ineligible for crop insurance benefits of the kind referred to in paragraph (a)(1) of this section. Appeals of the determination of ineligibility will be administered under the rules set by FCIC.

(c) Other sanctions may also apply.

[72 FR 63284, Nov. 8, 2007]

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