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Title 7 Part 1410

Title 7 → Subtitle B → Chapter XIV → Subchapter B → Part 1410

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 7 Part 1410

e-CFR data is current as of December 3, 2019

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.
§1410.10   Restoration of wetlands.
§1410.11   Farmable Wetlands Program.
§1410.13   Grassland enrollments.
§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 the 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.

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§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 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 will be determined by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) or other sources approved by the Deputy Administrator, in accordance with the Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG) of NRCS or other guidelines deemed appropriate by NRCS. In no case will such determination compel the Deputy Administrator to execute a contract that the Deputy Administrator does not believe will serve the purposes of CRP established by this part. Any approved technical authority will use CRP guidelines established by the Deputy Administrator.

(g) The Deputy Administrator may consult with the Forest Service (FS), a State forestry agency, or other organizations as determined by the Deputy Administrator 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) The Deputy Administrator 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) The Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administratorto implement the CRP.

(j) Except as agreed by CCC and the participant together, the regulations in this part apply to all contracts approved after July 16, 2015.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30911, June 29, 2009; 76 FR 4805, Jan. 27, 2011; 80 FR 41999, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.2   Definitions.

(a) The definitions in part 718 of this chapter 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 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 the Deputy Administrator.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program means the program that provides for the establishment of wetland easements on land under subtitle H of Title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended by section 2301 of the Agricultural Act of 2014.

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.

Commercial pond-raised aquaculture facility means, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, 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.

Common grazing practices means grazing practices, including those related to forage and seed production, common to the area of the subject ranching or farming operation. Included are routine management activities necessary to maintain the viability of forage or browse resources that are common to the locale of the subject ranching or farming operation.

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. For grassland signup enrollments where grazing is occurring or is likely to occur, the conservation plan will contain provisions for common grazing practices and related activities consistent with achieving CRP purposes and maintaining the health and viability of grassland resources.

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 that meets crop rotation requirements, as specified by the Deputy Administrator, for: Alfalfa, multi-year grasses, and legumes planted during 2008 through 2013; for summer fallow during 2008 through 2013; or for land on which the contract expired during the period 2008 through 2013 and on which the grass cover required by the CRP contract continues to be maintained as though still enrolled. Land that meets this definition of “conserving use” will be considered to have been planted to an agricultural commodity for the purposes of eligibility specified in §1410.6(a)(1).

Considered planted means land devoted to a conserving use 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.

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

Erodibility index (EI), as prescribed by the Deputy Administrator, is an index used to determine the inherent erodibility from either from water or wind, but not both combined, of a soil in relation to the soil loss tolerance for that soil.

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 the Deputy Administrator.

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 the Deputy Administrator, 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.

Forb means any herbaceous plant other than those in the grass family.

Grassland means land on which the vegetation is dominated by grasses, grass-like plants, shrubs, or forbs, including shrubland, land that contains forbs, pastureland, and rangeland, and improved pastureland and rangeland, as determined 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, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

Improved rangeland or pastureland means grazing land permanently producing naturalized forage species that receives varying degrees of periodic cultural treatment to enhance forage quality and yields and is primarily consumed by livestock.

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.

Infeasible to farm means an area of land that is too small or isolated to be economically farmed, or is otherwise suitable for such classification, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

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

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

Nesting season means the nesting season for birds in the local area that are economically significant, in significant decline, or conserved in accordance with Federal or State law, as determined by the Deputy Administrator in consultation with the State technical committee established as specified in part 610 of this title.

Offer means, unless the context indicates otherwise, if required by the Deputy Administrator, 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 the Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator.

Pastureland means grazing lands comprised of introduced or domesticated native forage species that are used primarily for the production of livestock. These lands receive periodic renovation and cultural treatments, such as tillage, aeration, fertilization, mowing, and weed control, and may be irrigated. This term does not include lands that are in rotation with crops.

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 the Deputy Administrator.

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.

Rangeland means a land cover or use category with a climax or potential plant cover composed principally of native grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, or shrubs suitable for grazing and browsing, and introduced forage species that are managed like rangeland. Rangeland includes lands re-vegetated naturally or artificially when routine management of that vegetation is accomplished mainly through manipulation of grazing. This term includes areas where introduced hardy and persistent grasses are planted and such practices as deferred grazing, burning, chaining, and rotational grazing are used with little or no chemicals or fertilizer being applied. Grassland, savannas, many wetlands, some deserts, and tundra are considered to be rangeland. Certain communities of low forbs and shrubs, such as mesquite, chaparral, mountain shrub, and pinyon juniper are also included as rangeland.

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.

Shrubland means land where the dominant plant species are shrubs, which are plants that are persistent, have woody stems, and a relatively low growth habit.

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 the Deputy Administrator, 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.

Veteran farmer or rancher means a farmer or rancher who has served in the Armed Forces, as defined in 38 U.S.C. 101(10), and who either:

(1) Has not operated a farm or ranch; or

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

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 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 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; 80 FR 41999, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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 the Deputy Administrator. 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 the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009; 80 FR 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.4   Maximum county acreage.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section and certain shelterbelts, windbreaks, and wet and saturated soils enrolled under ACEP, the maximum cropland acreage that may be placed in the CRP and the wetland reserve easements of WRP and ACEP, as appropriate, may not exceed 25 percent of the total cropland in the county. No more than 10 percent of the cropland in a county may be subject, in the aggregate, to a CRP or wetland reserve easement.

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

(1) If the Deputy Administrator 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 provisions as specified in §1410.30 or §1410.50 may be excluded from the restrictions in paragraph (a) of this section, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, provided that the county government concurs.

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

[80 FR 42000, July 16, 2015]

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§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 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) The provisions of this section do not apply to beginning, socially disadvantaged, or veteran 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; 80 FR 42000, July 16, 2015]

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§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 2008 through 2013, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, including field margins that are incidental to the planting of crops if:

(i) Including such field margins is determined appropriate by the Deputy Administrator; and

(ii) The field margins are physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agricultural commodity, as determined by the Deputy Administrator; or

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

(i) Is determined to be suitable for use as a riparian buffer or is made eligible under a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) agreement for similar water quality purposes as determined by the Deputy Administrator. 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 the Deputy Administrator, 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 Deputy Administrator, 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) Acreage enrolled in 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; or

(4) Grassland as specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

(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 non-irrigated or irrigated cropland that would facilitate a net savings in groundwater or surface water of the agricultural operation of the producer, only as determined by, and only when specifically authorized by, the Deputy Administrator;

(3) Be land in a portion of a field not enrolled in CRP, if either:

(i) More than 50 percent of the remainder of the field is enrolled as a buffer or filterstrip practice; or

(ii) More than 75 percent of the field is enrolled as a conservation practice other than a buffer or filterstrip; and

(iii) With respect to both paragraphs (b)(3)(i) and (ii) of this section, the remainder portion of the field is determined to be infeasible to farm, as defined in §1410.2, and enrolled at an annual payment rate not to exceed the maximum annual calculated soil rental rate, as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(4) 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 as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(5) Be devoted to certain covers, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, 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 Deputy Administrator;

(6) Be non-irrigated or irrigated cropland that produces or serves as the recharge area 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, as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(7) 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;

(8) Be within a public wellhead protection area;

(9) Be within a designated conservation priority area;

(10) 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) and; or

(11) Land that meets other continuous signup land eligibility criteria, as established by the Deputy Administrator.

(c) For land to be eligible under a grassland signup as specified in §1410.30, the land must, as established by the Deputy Administrator:

(1) Not be cropland or marginal pastureland at the time of enrollment as grassland. Land enrolled under an expiring CRP contract may be eligible to be re-enrolled as grassland during the final year of the CRP contract, provided the scheduled expiration date of the current CRP contract is the day before the effective date of the new CRP contract, and suitable grass, legume, forb or shrub covers predominate, and;

(2) Be needed and suitable for enrollment as grassland following a determination that such land:

(i) Contain forbs or shrubland, including improved rangeland and pastureland, for which grazing is the predominant use;

(ii) Is located in an area historically dominated by grassland;

(iii) Is able to provide habitat for animal and plant populations of significant ecological value if the land is retained in its current use or restored to a natural condition; and

(iv) Meets other grassland signup land eligibility criteria as may be established by the Deputy Administrator.

(d) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section, land will be ineligible for enrollment if, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, the land is one of the following:

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

(2) Land on which the use of the land is either restricted through deed or other restriction prior to enrollment in CRP prohibiting the production of agricultural commodities, or requires any resource-conserving measures, during any part of the proposed contract term;

(3) Land already enrolled in the CRP, unless authorized by §1410.6(a)(3), as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(4) Land for which Tribal, State, or other locals laws, ordinances, or other regulations require any resource conserving or environmental protection measures or practices and the owners or operators of such land have been notified in writing of such requirements; or

(5) Land that is required to be used, or otherwise dedicated to mitigate actions undertaken, or planned to be undertaken, on other land, or to mitigate other actions taken by landowners or operators, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

[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; 80 FR 42000, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.7   Duration of contracts.

(a) Contracts with land devoted to hardwood trees, shelterbelts, windbreaks, or wildlife corridors will be for a term of 10 years to 15 years, as requested by the applicant.

(b) Other general and continuous signup contracts under this part will be for a term of 10 to 15 years, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(c) Grassland signup contracts will be for a term of 15 years.

(d) All contracts will expire on September 30 of the final calendar year of the contract.

[80 FR 42001, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.8   Conservation priority areas.

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

(b) Subject to Deputy Administrator 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 25 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 will expire after 5 years unless re-designated, except they may be withdrawn before 5 years:

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

(2) As determined appropriate 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.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42001, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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 the Deputy Administrator, subject to any restrictions as may be imposed by law, apply to transfer such acres that are devoted to an approved cover from CRP to a wetland reserve easement under WRP or ACEP, as appropriate. Transferred acreage will be terminated from CRP effective the day a WRP or ACEP wetland reserve easement is filed. Participants will receive a prorated CRP annual payment for the part of the year the acreage was enrolled in CRP as specified in §1410.42. 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 the Deputy Administrator, 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.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42001, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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 the Deputy Administrator, eligible owners and operators may enroll land in FWP provided that the land:

(1) Is a wetland, including a converted wetland, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, 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 so as to receive surface and subsurface flow from row crop agricultural production 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 750,000 acres. In addition, the maximum size of land enrolled under this section may not exceed, as determined by the Deputy Administrator:

(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 the Deputy Administrator, 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 the Deputy Administrator.

(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 the Deputy Administrator, all other requirements of this part apply to enrollments under this section, and the Deputy Administrator 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, as amended at 80 FR 42001, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.13   Grassland enrollments.

(a) Land may be enrolled in CRP under grassland signup as specified in §§1410.6, 1410.30, and 1410.31. Eligible grassland includes grassland that was previously enrolled in the Grassland Reserve Program, as specified in part 1415 of this chapter.

(b) Grassland enrollments will generally be administered under all the provisions of this part, except where specific provisions apply only to grassland enrollments.

(c) Grassland enrolled in CRP is eligible for the Transition Incentives Program as specified in §1410.64.

(d) Grassland previously enrolled in rental contracts under terms of the Grassland Reserve Program specified in part 1415 of this chapter will continue to be subject to the provisions of those contracts.

[80 FR 42001, July 16, 2015]

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§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.

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§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.

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§1410.22   CRP conservation plan.

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

(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, improve grassland, 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 or forest stewardship plan must 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 the Deputy Administrator.

(f) For general signup and continuous signup contracts except grasslands, mid-contract management must be conducted to implement management activities, such as disking and prescribed burning according to an approved conservation plan, as part of the CRP contractual obligation on all contracts entered into under general signup and continuous signup, as specified in §1410.30.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009; 80 FR 42001, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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, permanent wildlife habitat, and grassland improvements;

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

(3) Accomplish other purposes of CRP.

(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 aquaculture for commercial purposes.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42002, July 16, 2015]

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§§1410.24-1410.29   [Reserved]

§1410.30   Signup.

(a) Offers for contracts may 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 provide appropriate environmental benefits, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, or that would otherwise rank highly under §1410.31(b) and include high priority practices such as filter strips, riparian buffers, shelterbelts, field windbreaks, living snow fences, grass waterways, shallow water areas for wildlife, salt-tolerant vegetation, and practices to benefit certain approved public wellhead protection areas.

(b) Grassland signups will be conducted year-round with periodic ranking periods, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. The eligible offers that rank the highest according to the environmental benefits ranking plan established under §1410.31(e), as determined by the Deputy Administrator, will be accepted, provided sufficient acres and funds are available.

[80 FR 42002, July 16, 2015]

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§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 CRP.

(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 CRP. 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 CRP.

(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 CRP 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 CRP or a lesser rate.

(e) Grassland signup offers will be periodically batched, evaluated, and ranked on a competitive basis in which the offers selected will be those where the greatest environmental benefits relative to cost are generated, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, and further provided that:

(1) The offered land is eligible under §§1410.4 and 1410.6, as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(2) The producer is eligible under §1410.5;

(3) The producer accepts either the maximum payment rate the Deputy Administrator is willing to offer to enroll the acreage in CRP, or a lesser rate; and

(4) The offer ranks above the minimum ranking level applicable to each ranking period needed for offer acceptance, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(5) Notwithstanding the preceding, acceptance or rejection of any grassland signup offers will be in the sole discretion of the Deputy Administrator and offers may be rejected for any reason as determined necessary and appropriate to accomplish the goals of CRP.

(f) In ranking and evaluating grassland signup offers, different factors, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, may be considered from time to time for priority purposes to accomplish the goals of CRP. Such factors may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Existence of expiring CRP or Grassland Reserve Program land;

(2) Existing grassland;

(3) Multi-species cover existence and predominance of native species;

(4) Livestock grazing operation;

(5) State priority enrollment criteria (non-land based) and State Focus Area (land-based) determined in consultation with State Technical Committee;

(6) Whether the applicant is an eligible beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher; and

(7) Other factors as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010; 80 FR 42002, July 16, 2015]

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§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 the Deputy Administrator.

(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 CRP will be irrevocable for such period as is determined and announced by the Deputy Administrator. The producer will 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. The Deputy Administrator may waive payment of such liquidated damages, if the Deputy Administrator determines that the assessment of such damages, in a particular case, is not in the best interest of CCC and CRP.

(d) The CRP contract must, within the dates established by the Deputy Administrator, 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 the Deputy Administrator according to terms and conditions as determined by the Deputy Administrator;

(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) The Deputy Administrator determines that such a termination is needed in the public interest, or is otherwise necessary and appropriate to further the goals of CRP.

(g) Except as allowed and approved by the Deputy Administrator, 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, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, and must pay liquidated damages as provided for in the contract. The Deputy Administrator may permit the amount to be repaid to be reduced to the extent that such a reduction will not impair the purposes of CRP. 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 the Deputy Administrator.

(h) During the final year of the CRP contract's term, the participants on a CRP contract will not be in violation of the terms of the contract if both the following are met:

(1) During the final year of the contract the land is enrolled in the Conservation Stewardship Program, and such enrollment is reported promptly to the Deputy Administrator; and

(2) The land management and conservation practice measures that are conducted under the Conservation Stewardship Program are not in violation of the approved CRP conservation plan and are otherwise consistent with this part, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42002, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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, socially disadvantaged, or veteran 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) The Deputy Administrator may terminate a CRP contract if the participant agrees to such termination and the Deputy Administrator determines such termination to be in the public interest.

(e) CCC may terminate or modify a CRP contract when the land is transferred into WRP, ACEP, or other Federal or State programs, as determined by the Deputy Administrator.

(1) For contracts terminated or modified for enrollment in other Federal or State programs, participants will not be required to repay CRP payments or pay interest and liquidated damages to CCC, as otherwise required for contract violations under §1410.52, unless determined otherwise by the Deputy Administrator, with the following exception:

(2) Participants will be required to repay CRP Signing Incentive Payments and Practice Incentive Payments if land containing a wetland reserve easement is enrolled in ACEP.

(f) During the final year of the CRP contract's term, CCC will allow an owner or operator to make conservation and land improvements (resource conserving uses) for economic use that facilitate maintaining protection of enrolled land after expiration of the contract, but only under the following conditions:

(1) All provisions are identified in an approved CRP conservation plan;

(2) Land improved in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section will not be eligible to be re-enrolled in CRP for 5 years after the date of the expiration or termination of the contract; and

(3) CCC will reduce the final annual rental payment otherwise payable under the contract by an amount commensurate with the economic value of the resource conserving use activity carried out.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 75 FR 27169, May 14, 2010; 80 FR 42003, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§§1410.34-1410.39   [Reserved]

§1410.40   Cost-share payments.

(a) Cost-share payments will be made available upon a determination by the Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator.

(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, grassland improvement, or other conservation measures, as determined by the Deputy Administrator; 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 will 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 will 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) The Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009; 80 FR 42003, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.41   Levels and rates for cost-share payments.

(a) As determined by the Deputy Administrator, CCC will 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 the Deputy Administrator may determine the period and amount of such cost-share payments.

(b) The average cost of performing a practice may be determined by the Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42003, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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 per acre include a payment based on a weighted average soil rental rate, marginal pastureland rental rate, or grassland rate, as appropriate, and an incentive payment as a portion of the annual payment for certain practices, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. In addition, a national maximum annual rental payment rate may also be established by the Deputy Administrator for certain categories of CRP offers and contracts.

(c) The annual rental payment will 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 will 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 will 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) The Deputy Administrator will 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 for cropland based on the relative productivity of soils within the county using NRCS data and local FSA average cash rental estimates. For marginal pastureland, rental rates will be based on estimates of the prevailing rental values of marginal pastureland in riparian areas. Grassland rental rates will be based on not more than 75 percent of the estimated grazing value of the land. The schedule will be available in the local FSA office and, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, will 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.

(h) CCC may make tree thinning incentive payments to owners and operators of enrolled land in an amount sufficient to encourage proper tree thinning and other practices to improve the condition of resources, promote forest management, or enhance wildlife habitat on the land, as determined by the Deputy Administrator. Incentive payments for tree thinning and other tree stand practices will:

(1) Not exceed 150 percent of the total cost of the practice, as determined by the Deputy Administrator; and

(2) Only be available for practices outlined in the tree planting plan under the approved CRP conservation plan.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 74 FR 30912, June 29, 2009; 80 FR 42003, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.43   Method of payment.

Except as provided in §1410.50, payments made by the Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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 $900,000 for the 3 taxable years preceding the most immediately preceding complete taxable year, or who otherwise do not meet the AGI requirements specified in part 1400 of this chapter.

(b) [Reserved]

[80 FR 42003, July 16, 2015]

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§§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 the Deputy Administrator.

(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.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42001, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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 the Deputy Administrator, may become a participant to a new CRP contract with the Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator, 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.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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, 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) The Deputy Administrator may reduce a demand for a refund under this section to the extent the Deputy Administrator determines that such relief would be appropriate and will not deter the accomplishment of the goals of CRP.

(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; 80 FR 42003, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.53   Executed CRP contract not in conformity with the regulations.

(a) 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 the Deputy Administrator may, at his or her sole discretion, terminate or modify the CRP contract, effective immediately or at a later date as the Deputy Administrator determines appropriate.

(b) [Reserved]

[80 FR 42003, July 16, 2015]

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§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.

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§1410.60   Scheme or device.

(a) If the Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator.

(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.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.61   Filing of false claims.

If the Deputy Administrator 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 the Deputy Administrator, 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.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 80 FR 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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 the Deputy Administrator, incentives may be authorized to foster opportunities for Indian tribes and beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers, and to enhance long-term environmental goals.

(h) As determined by the Deputy Administrator, 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; 80 FR 42004, 42005, July 16, 2015]

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§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; and

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

(c) No barrier fencing or boundary limitations that prohibit wildlife access to or from the CRP acreage are allowed as part of any permissive use, unless required by State law.

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

(1) Managed harvesting and other commercial uses, including managed harvesting of biomass, but only in exchange for a payment reduction of not less than 25 percent as determined by the Deputy Administrator, and only in accordance with vegetative management requirements, harvest period, and a harvest frequency developed in coordination with the State Technical committee and timing of harvesting activities outside the nesting season at least every 5 years, but not more than once every 3 years, and only as identified in an approved CRP conservation plan;

(2) Routine grazing in accordance with appropriate vegetative management requirements and stocking rates for the land, grazing frequency, and grazing periods outside the nesting season developed in coordination with the State Technical Committee, of not more than once every 2 years, and only as identified in an approved CRP conservation plan. Routine grazing will only be permitted in exchange for a payment reduction of not less than 25 percent, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, except that a beginning farmer or rancher may conduct routine grazing without payment reduction;

(3) Prescribed grazing for the control of invasive species in accordance with appropriate vegetative management requirements and stocking rates for the land, grazing frequency, and grazing periods outside the nesting season, and only as identified in an approved CRP conservation plan. Prescribed grazing will only be permitted in exchange for a payment reduction of not less than 25 percent, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, except that a beginning farmer or rancher may conduct prescribed grazing by without payment reduction;

(4) Harvesting, grazing, or other commercial use of the forage on the land in response to a drought, flooding, or other emergency, consistent with an approved CRP conservation plan;

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

(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 the Deputy Administrator;

(7) Intermittent and seasonal use of vegetative buffer practices incidental to agricultural production on lands adjacent to the buffer such that the permitted use does not destroy the permanent vegetative cover, as determined by the Deputy Administrator, only as identified in an approved CRP conservation plan, and in exchange for a payment reduction of not less than 25 percent;

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

(9) When enrolled land is established to tree planting practices or otherwise converted to forestry uses, customary forestry activities are authorized such as, but not limited to, thinning and prescribed burning, in a manner consistent with the participant's conservation plan. Such activities must be designed to promote forest health, enhance wildlife habitat, and improve the general resource conditions of enrolled lands. An incentive payment is authorized as specified in §1410.42(h).

(e) For land enrolled under a grassland signup type as authorized by §1410.30(b) only, the following activities may also be permitted, as determined by the Deputy Administrator:

(1) Common grazing practices, including maintenance and necessary cultural practices, on the land in a manner that is consistent with maintaining the viability of grassland, forb, and shrub species appropriate to the locality;

(2) Haying, mowing, or harvesting for seed production subject to appropriate restrictions during the nesting season;

(3) Fire pre-suppression, fire-related rehabilitation, and construction of firebreaks;

(4) Grazing related activities, such as fencing and livestock watering facilities; and

(5) Other activities as determined by the Deputy Administrator, when the manner, number, intensity, location, operation, and other features associated with the activity will not adversely affect the grassland resources or related conservation values protected under a grassland CRP contract.

[68 FR 24835, May 8, 2003, as amended at 69 FR 26763, May 14, 2004; 75 FR 44071, July 28, 2010; 80 FR 42004, July 16, 2015]

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§1410.64   Transition Incentives Program.

(a) To be eligible for the Transition Incentives Program, the retired or retiring owner or operator must:

(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 irrevocable lease of at least 5 years in length) expiring CRP land to a beginning, veteran, 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, veteran, 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, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher to develop a conservation plan for the land; and

(6) Allow the beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher to install conservation practices and initiate land improvements, including preparing to plant a crop, 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, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers must:

(1) Certify that they meet the definition in §1410.2 of either a beginning, veteran, 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, veteran, 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, veteran, 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, veteran, 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, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher has sufficient control of the property.

(e) As an incentive for selling or leasing land to a beginning, veteran, 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, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is not a family member.

(f) The eligible retired or retiring owner or operator and the eligible beginning, veteran, or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher must agree to be jointly and severally responsible for complying with both the provisions of the Transition Incentives Program agreement and the provisions of this part, and must also agree to be jointly and severally responsible for any payment adjustments that may result from violations of the terms or conditions of the Transition Incentives Program agreement or this part.

[75 FR 27169, May 14, 2010, as amended at 80 FR 42004, July 16, 2015]

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