Title 7

SECTION 1464.22

1464.22 Partnership agreements.

§ 1464.22 Partnership agreements.

(a) In general. Upon selection of a proposal for partnership agreement, NRCS will work with the eligible partner to develop the specifics of the partnership agreement. NRCS may offer a reduced amount of program assistance from that requested in the proposal for a partnership agreement or negotiate other project details.

(b) Duration. A partnership agreement between NRCS and a lead partner will be for a period of time:

(1) Not to exceed 5 years; or

(2) That is longer than 5 years if the longer period of time is necessary to meet the objectives of the program, as determined by NRCS.

(c) Extension. A partnership agreement, including a renewal of a partnership agreement, may be extended not more than one time for a period of time not longer than 12 months, as determined by NRCS.

(d) Requirements. The partnership agreement between NRCS and a lead partner will:

(1) Specify the scope of a project, including:

(i) One or more conservation benefits that the project will achieve;

(ii) The eligible activities on eligible land to be conducted under the project to achieve conservation benefits;

(iii) The implementation timeline for carrying out the project, including any interim milestones;

(iv) The local, State, multistate, or other geographic area covered; and

(v) The planning, outreach, implementation, and assessment to be conducted.

(2) Identify the outreach and education to producers for potential participation in the project;

(3) Authorize the lead partner, at the request of a producer, to act on behalf of a producer participating in the project in applying for assistance under subpart C of this part;

(4) Identify the significant contribution to the project costs by the lead partner, including any direct or indirect funding or in-kind support that will be contributed to help achieve the project objectives;

(5) Define the conservation benefits and other outcomes to be achieved by the project including the impact to any priority or project resource concern;

(6) Require the lead partner to assess periodically the progress made by the project in achieving the defined conservation benefits and outcomes;

(7) Require the lead partner to report to NRCS at the conclusion of the project on the project's results and funding leveraged;

(8) Set forth the total amount of financial and technical assistance funding that NRCS will reserve to support project implementation;

(9) Establish the general terms and conditions of any supplemental agreements that NRCS or the lead partner may enter into with nonlead partners;

(10) Identify the terms and conditions under which either NRCS or the lead partner may enter into supplemental agreements to further the purposes of the partnership agreement;

(11) Provide a detailed description of how the lead partner will facilitate participation of historically underserved producers (including through advance payment options, increased payment rates, outreach activities, or other methods for increasing participation by historically underserved producers) if the proposal received increased ranking priority as described in § 1464.21(b)(8);

(12) Identify the other requirements identified by NRCS; and

(13) Include any unique requirements if the partnership agreement is a grant agreement or alternative funding arrangement.

(e) Supplemental agreements. NRCS may enter into supplemental agreements with a lead partner or a nonlead partner to provide technical assistance or to assist producers with implementation of eligible activities in the project area as identified in § 1464.26.

(f) Partnership agreement renewal. (1) As determined by NRCS, a partnership agreement may be renewed for a period not to exceed 5 years.

(2) NRCS may agree to renew the partnership agreement through an expedited process if -

(i) The lead partner requests such a renewal; and

(ii) NRCS determines that the project has met or exceeded project objectives as verified by NRCS.

(3) To facilitate expedited renewal, NRCS may designate a portion of available RCPP funding for expedited renewal requests.

(4) NRCS will not rank expedited renewal requests against new proposals.

(5) Under a renewal of a partnership agreement, the parties may request to continue to implement the project as defined in the original partnership agreement or expand the scope of the project consistent with the objectives and purposes of the original partnership agreement.

(g) Notification. All eligible partners who submit a proposal for a partnership agreement or submit a request to renew a partnership agreement will receive notification from NRCS regarding selection or nonselection of the project proposal or approval or denial of the renewal request.

[85 FR 8137, Feb. 13, 2020, as amended at 86 FR 3744, Jan. 15, 2021]