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Title 7

Displaying title 7, up to date as of 9/24/2021. Title 7 was last amended 9/21/2021.

Title 7

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Subpart A - General Provisions
§ 1400.1 Applicability.

(a) This part, except as otherwise noted, is applicable to all of the following programs and any other programs as specified in individual program regulations of this chapter:

(1) The Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Programs, part 1412 of this chapter;

(2) The Price Support programs in parts 1421, 1427, and 1434 of this chapter;

(3) The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), part 1410 of this chapter;

(4) The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), part 1437 of this chapter;

(5) The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), and the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP), part 1416 of this chapter;

(6) The Tree Assistance Program (TAP), part 1416 of this chapter;

(7) The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation programs of this title including the Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) program, Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP); and

(8) The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) in part 701 of this title.

(9) Subparts C and G of this part do not apply to the programs listed in paragraphs (a)(3) through (8) of this section.

(b) This part will apply to the programs specified in:

(1) Paragraphs (a)(1), (2), (4), and (7) of this section on a crop year basis;

(2) Paragraph (a)(3) of this section on a fiscal year basis;

(3) Paragraphs (a)(5) and (6) of this section on a calendar year basis;

(4) Paragraph (a)(7) of this section when funding is available; and

(5) Paragraph (a)(8) of this section on a per disaster event basis.

(c) This part will be used to determine the manner in which payments will be attributed to persons and legal entities for the payment limitations provided in this section and to other programs as specified in individual program regulations in this chapter.

(d) Where more than one provision of this part may apply, the provision that is most restrictive on the program participant will be applied.

(e) The payment limitations of this part are not applicable to:

(1) Payments made under State conservation reserve enhancement program agreements approved by the Secretary, and

(2) Payments made subject to this part if ownership interest in land or a commodity is transferred as the result of the death of a program participant and the new owner of the land or commodity has succeeded to the contract of the prior owner. If the successor is otherwise eligible, payments cannot exceed the amount the previous owner was entitled to receive at the time of death.

(f) The following amounts are the limitations on payments per person or legal entity for the applicable period for each payment or benefit.

Table 1 to Paragraph (f)

Payment or benefit Limitation per person or legal entity
($)
(1) Price Loss Coverage, Agriculture Risk Coverage payments (other than Peanuts) 125,000 per program year.
(2) Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage payments for Peanuts 125,000 per program year.
(3) CRP annual rental payments 50,000 per program year.
(4) NAP payments
(i) basic 50/55 NAP coverage 125,000 per crop year.
(ii) Buy-up NAP coverage 300,000 per crop year.
(5) LFP 125,000 per program year.
(6) CSP1 200,000.
(7) EQIP2 450,000.
(8) AMA program 50,000 per fiscal year.
(9) ECP 500,000 per disaster event.
(10) EFRP 500,000 per disaster event.

[79 FR 21096, Apr. 14, 2014, as amended at 80 FR 119, Jan. 2, 2015; 80 FR 78128, Dec. 16, 2015; 83 FR 49463, Oct. 2, 2018; 85 FR 52036, Aug. 24, 2020]

§ 1400.2 Administration.

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

(b) State executive directors, county executive directors, and State and county committees do not have authority to modify or waive any of the provisions of this part.

(c) The State committee may take any action authorized or required by this part to be taken by the county committee that has not been taken by the county committee. The State committee may also:

(1) Correct or require a county committee to correct any action taken by the 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 in this part to a State or county committee precludes the Executive Vice President, CCC, and the Administrator, FSA, or a designee, from determining any question arising under this part or from reversing or modifying any determination made by a State or county committee.

(e) Benefits from programs subject to this part may not be issued until all required forms and necessary payment eligibility and payment limitation determinations are made.

(f) The initial payment eligibility determinations will be made within 60 days after the required forms and any other supporting documentation needed in making the determinations are received in the county FSA office. If the determination is not made within 60 days, the producer will receive a determination for that program year that reflects the determination sought by the producer unless the Deputy Administrator determines that the producer did not follow the farm operating plan that was presented to the county or State committee for the applicable year.

(g) Initial determinations concerning the provisions of this part will be made by the FSA State office with respect to any farm operating plan that is for a joint operation with six or more members.

(h) Reviews of farming operations and corresponding documentation submitted by program participants may be conducted at any time to determine compliance with applicable statutes and regulations. The completion of the reviews is not subject to the time constraints specified in paragraph (f) of this section.

(i) The Deputy Administrator will periodically monitor the status of completion of assigned compliance reviews and take any actions deemed appropriate to ensure timely completion of reviews for payment eligibility and payment limitation compliance purposes.

[73 FR 79273, Dec. 29, 2008, as amended at 75 FR 899, Jan. 7, 2010; 80 FR 78128, Dec. 16, 2015; 85 FR 52036, Aug. 24, 2020]

§ 1400.3 Definitions.

(a) The terms defined in part 718 of this title are applicable to this part and all documents issued in accordance with this part, except as otherwise provided in this section.

(b) The following definitions are also applicable to this part:

Active personal management means personally providing and participating in activities considered critical to the profitability of the farming operation and performed under one or more of the following categories:

(1) Capital, which includes:

(i) Arranging financing and managing capital;

(ii) Acquiring equipment;

(iii) Acquiring land or negotiating leases;

(iv) Managing insurance; and

(v) Managing participation in USDA programs;

(2) Labor, which includes hiring and managing of hired labor; and

(3) Agronomics and marketing, which includes:

(i) Selecting crops and making planting decisions;

(ii) Acquiring and purchasing crop inputs;

(iii) Managing crops (that is, whatever managerial decisions are needed with respect to keeping the growing crops living and healthy - soil fertility and fertilization, weed control, insect control, irrigation if applicable) and making harvest decisions; and

(iv) Pricing and marketing of crop production.

Administrator means the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency including any designee of the Administrator.

Alien means any person not a citizen or national of the United States.

Attribution means the combination of any payment made directly to a person or legal entity with the person's or legal entity's pro rata direct and indirect interest in payments received by a legal entity, joint venture, or general partnership.

Average Adjusted Gross Income means the average of the adjusted gross income as defined under 26 U.S.C. 62 or comparable measure of the person or legal entity over the 3 taxable years preceding the most immediately preceding complete taxable year.

Capital means the funding provided by a person or legal entity to the farming operation for the operation to conduct farming activities. In determining whether a person or legal entity has independently contributed capital, in the form of funding, to the farming operation, the capital must have been derived from a fund or account separate and distinct from that of any other person or legal entity with an interest in the farming operation. Capital does not include the value of any labor or management that is contributed to the farming operation or any outlays for land or equipment. A capital contribution must be a direct out-of-pocket input of a specified sum or an amount borrowed by the person or legal entity and does not include advance program payments.

Chief means the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service including any designee of the Chief (also referred to in this part as NRCS Chief).

Contribution means providing land, capital, or equipment assets, and the actions of providing active personal labor or active personal management to a farming operation in exchange for, or with the expectation of, deriving benefit based solely on the success of the farming operation.

Deputy Administrator means the Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs, Farm Service Agency including any designee.

Environmentally sensitive land of special significance means land offered for enrollment or adjacent to the land offered for enrollment that contains, or through enrollment will address, critical resources including, but not limited to:

(1) Habitat for threatened, endangered, or at-risk species;

(2) Historical or cultural resources;

(3) Native grasslands;

(4) Unique wetlands;

(5) Rare, unique, or related soils; and

(6) Critical groundwater recharge areas.

Equipment means the machinery and implements needed by the farming operation to conduct activities of the farming operation, including machinery and implements involved in land preparation, planting, cultivating, harvesting, or marketing of the crops involved. Equipment also includes machinery and implements needed to establish and maintain conserving cover crops on CRP acreages and those needed to conduct livestock operations. The equipment may be leased from any source. If the equipment is leased from another person or legal entity with an interest in the farming operation, the equipment must be leased at a fair market value.

Family member means a person to whom another member in the farming operation is related as a lineal ancestor, lineal descendant, sibling, first cousin, niece, nephew, spouse, or otherwise by marriage.

Farming operation means a business enterprise engaged in the production of agricultural products, commodities, or livestock, operated by a person, legal entity, or joint operation that is eligible to receive payments, directly or indirectly, under one or more of the programs specified in § 1400.1. A person or legal entity may have more than one farming operation if the person or legal entity is a member of one or more joint operations.

Indian tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, pueblo, 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. 1601-1629h), which is recognized as eligible for special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Interest in the farming operation means any of the following:

(1) Owner, lessor, or lessee of the land in the farming operation;

(2) An interest in the agricultural products, commodities, or livestock produced by the farming operation; or

(3) A member of a joint operation that is an owner, lessor, or lessee of the land in the farming operation or has an interest in the agricultural products, commodities, or livestock produced by the farming operation.

Irrevocable trust means a trust as specified in this definition. Any trust not meeting this definition will be considered a revocable trust. A trust may be considered to be an irrevocable trust only if:

(1) The trust cannot be modified or terminated by the grantor;

(2) The grantor has no future, contingent, or remainder interest in the corpus of the trust; and

(3) The trust agreement does not provide for the transfer of the corpus of the trust to the remainder beneficiary in less than 20 years from the date the trust is established except in cases where the transfer is contingent upon either the remainder beneficiary achieving at least the age of majority or the death of the grantor or income beneficiary.

Joint operation means a general partnership, joint venture, or other similar business organization in which the members are jointly and severally liable for the obligations of the organization.

Land means farmland that meets the specific requirements of the applicable program. The land may be leased from any source. If the land is leased from another person or legal entity with an interest in the farming operation, the land must be leased at a fair market value.

Lawful alien means any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States but who is admitted into the United States for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act and possesses appropriate valid credentials issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

Legal entity means an entity created under Federal or State law and that:

(1) Owns land or an agricultural commodity, product, or livestock; or

(2) Produces an agricultural commodity, product, or livestock.

Livestock means those animals included in § 1416.304(a) of this chapter.

Payment means:

(1) Payments made in accordance with part 1412 of this chapter or successor regulation of this chapter;

(2) CRP annual rental payments made in accordance with part 1410 of this chapter or successor regulation of this chapter;

(3) NAP payments made in accordance with part 1437 of this chapter or successor regulation of this chapter;

(4) ELAP, LIP, LFP, and TAP payments made in accordance with part 1416 of this chapter or successor regulations of this chapter:

(5) Price support payments made in accordance with parts 1421 and 1434 of this chapter; and

(6) For other programs, any payments designated in individual program regulations in this chapter.

Person means an individual, natural person and does not include a legal entity.

Public school means a primary, elementary, secondary school, college, or university that is directly administered under the authority of a governmental body or that receives a predominant amount of its financing from public funds.

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

Sharecropper means a person who performs work in connection with the production of the crop under the supervision of the operator and who receives a share of the crop in return for work.

Significant contribution means the provision of the following to a farming operation:

(i)

(A) For land, capital, or equipment contributed independently by a person or legal entity, a contribution that has a value at least equal to 50 percent of the person's or legal entity's commensurate share of the total:

(1) Value of the capital necessary to conduct the farming operation;

(2) Rental value of the land necessary to conduct the farming operation; or

(3) Rental value of the equipment necessary to conduct the farming operation; or

(B) If the contribution by a person or legal entity consists of any combination of land, capital, and equipment, such combined contribution must have a value at least equal to 30 percent of the person's or legal entity's commensurate share of the total value of the farming operation;

(ii) For active personal labor, an amount contributed by a person to the farming operation that is described by the smaller of the following:

(A) 1,000 hours per calendar year; or

(B) 50 percent of the total hours that would be necessary to conduct a farming operation that is comparable in size to such person's or legal entity's commensurate share in the farming operation;

(iii) With respect to active personal management, activities that are critical to the profitability of the farming operation, taking into consideration the person's or legal entity's commensurate share in the farming operation; and

(iv) With respect to a combination of active personal labor and active personal management, when neither contribution by itself meets the requirement of paragraphs (ii) and (iii) of this definition, a combination of active personal labor and active personal management that, when made together, results in a critical impact on the profitability of the farming operation in an amount at least equal to either the significant contribution of active personal labor or active personal management as defined in paragraphs (ii) and (iii) of this definition.

Substantial amount of active personal labor means the provision of active personal labor to a farming operation in an amount described by the smaller of the following:

(1) 1,000 hours per calendar year; or

(2) 50 percent of the total hours that would be necessary to conduct a farming operation that is comparable in size to the person's or legal entity's commensurate share in the farming operation.

Total value of the farming operation means the total of the costs, excluding the value of active personal labor and active personal management contributed by a person who is a member of the farming operation, needed to carry out the farming operation for the year for which the determination is made.

[73 FR 79273, Dec. 29, 2008, as amended at 79 FR 21097, Apr. 14, 2014; 85 FR 52037, Aug. 24, 2020; 85 FR 73602, Nov. 19, 2020]

§ 1400.4 Indian Tribe.

Provisions of this part do not apply to Indian tribes as defined in § 1400.3.

§ 1400.5 Denial of program benefits.

(a) All or any part of a payment otherwise due a person or legal entity on all farms in which the person or legal entity has an interest may be withheld or be required to be refunded if the person or legal entity fails to comply with the provisions of this part.

(b) All or any part of a payment otherwise due a person or legal entity on all farms in which the person or legal entity has an interest may be withheld or be required to be refunded if the person or legal entity fails to comply with the provisions of this part and adopts or participates in adopting a scheme or device designed to evade this part, or that has the effect of evading this part. Examples of acts may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Concealing information that affects the application of this part;

(2) Submitting false or erroneous information; or

(3) Creating a business arrangement using rental agreements and other arrangements to conceal the interest of a person or legal entity in a farm or farming operation for the purpose of obtaining program payments the person or legal entity would otherwise not be eligible to receive. Examples of business arrangements or acts include, but are not limited to the following:

(i) No crops are grown or agricultural commodities produced by the represented operation;

(ii) The represented operation has no appreciable assets;

(iii) The only source of capital for the operation is the program payments; or

(iv) The represented operation exists only for the receipt of program payments.

(c) If the Deputy Administrator determines that a person or legal entity has adopted a scheme or device to evade, or that has the purpose of evading, the provisions of 7 U.S.C. 1308, 1308-1, or 1308-3, as amended, the person or legal entity will be ineligible to receive payments under the programs specified in § 1400.1 in the year the scheme or device was perpetrated or adopted and the succeeding year.

(d) A person or legal entity that lies or perpetuates fraud, commits fraud, or participates in equally serious actions for the benefit of the person or legal entity, or the benefit of any other person or legal entity, to exceed the applicable limit on payments or the requirements of this part will be subject to a 5-year denial of all program benefits. Examples of equally serious actions include, but are not limited to:

(1) Knowingly engaged in, or aided in the creation of a fraudulent document;

(2) Failed to disclose material information relevant to the administration of the provisions of this part, or

(3) Any other actions of a person or legal entity determined by the Deputy Administrator as designed or intended to circumvent the provisions of this subpart.

(e) Program payments and benefits will be denied on pro-rata basis:

(1) In accordance to the interest held by the person or legal entity in any other legal entity or joint operations and

(2) To any person or legal entity that is a cash rent tenant on land owned or under control of a person or legal entity for which a determination of this section has been made.

[73 FR 79273, Dec. 29, 2008, as amended at 85 FR 52038, Aug. 24, 2020]

§ 1400.6 Joint and several liability.

(a) Any legal entity, including joint operations, and any member of a legal entity determined to have knowingly participated in a scheme or device, or other equally serious actions to evade the payment limitation provisions in this part, or that has the purpose of evading the provisions of this part, will be jointly and severally liable for any amounts determined to be payable as the result of the scheme or device, or other examples of equally serious actions mentioned in this section or in § 1400.5, including amounts necessary to recover the payments.

(b) Any person or legal entity that cooperates in the enforcement of the payment limitation and payment eligibility provisions of this part may be partially or fully released from liability, as determined by the Executive Vice President, CCC.

(c) The provisions of this section will be applicable in addition to any liability that arises under a criminal or civil statute.

[73 FR 79273, Dec. 29, 2008, as amended at 75 FR 899, Jan. 7, 2010; 85 FR 52038, Aug. 24, 2020]

§ 1400.7 Revocable trust.

A revocable trust and the grantor will be considered to be the same person under this part.

[85 FR 52038, Aug. 24, 2020]

§ 1400.8 Equitable treatment.

(a) Actions taken by a person or legal entity in good faith based on action or advice of an authorized representative of the Administrator may be accepted as meeting the requirements of this part to the extent the Administrator deems necessary to provide fair and equitable treatment to the person or legal entity.

(b) Actions taken by a person or legal entity in good faith based on action or advice of an authorized representative of the NRCS Chief may be accepted as meeting the requirements of this part to the extent the NRCS Chief deems necessary to provide fair and equitable treatment to the person or legal entity.

[73 FR 79273, Dec. 29, 2008, as amended at 85 FR 52038, Aug. 24, 2020]

§ 1400.9 Appeals.

(a) A person or legal entity may obtain reconsideration and review of determinations made under this part in accordance with the appeal regulations set forth in part 780 of this title. With respect to the appeals, the applicable reviewing authority will:

(1) Schedule a hearing with respect to the appeal within 45 days following receipt of the written appeal and

(2) Issue a determination within 60 days following the hearing.

(b) The time limitations provided in paragraph (a) will not apply if:

(1) The appellant, or the appellant's representative, requests a postponement of the scheduled hearing;

(2) The appellant, or the appellant's representative, requests additional time following the hearing to present additional information or a written closing statement;

(3) The appellant has not timely presented information to the reviewing authority; or

(4) An investigation by the Office of Inspector General is ongoing or a court proceeding is involved that affects the amount of payments a person may receive.

(c) If the deadlines provided in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section are not met, the relief sought by the producer's appeal will be granted for the applicable crop year unless the Deputy Administrator determines that the producer did not follow the farm operating plan initially presented to the county committee for the year that is the subject of the appeal.

(d) An appellant may waive the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

[73 FR 79273, Dec. 29, 2008, as amended at 85 FR 52038, Aug. 24, 2020]