1464.30 Application for program contracts and selecting applications for funding.§ 1464.30 Application for program contracts and selecting applications for funding.
(a) Evaluation guidelines. In evaluating program contract applications, NRCS may take into consideration the following guidelines:
(1) Any producer who has eligible land in a project area encompassed by a partnership agreement may submit an application for participation in RCPP.
(2) To the greatest extent practicable, applications for similar eligible activities may be grouped together in ranking pools for evaluation and ranking purposes.
(3) Upon execution of a partnership agreement, NRCS will accept producer applications for funding under such agreement throughout the fiscal year and may be evaluated and ranked on a continuous or ranking-period basis.
(4) NRCS may give priority to applications that are submitted as part of a bundle submitted by a lead partner.
(5) In selecting RCPP applications, NRCS will develop an evaluation and ranking process to prioritize eligible applications for funding that address the purposes of the project or CCA, including treating the identified project or priority resource concerns, as applicable.
(b) Selection order. (1) NRCS will select eligible applications for funding in order of ranking priority taking into account identified evaluation periods and ranking pools.
(2) NRCS may decline to select an eligible application if the remaining funding is insufficient to fund that application and NRCS may proceed to the next application in ranked order that can be funded with available funding.
(3) NRCS, in consultation with the lead partner, may identify and establish in the partnership agreement other limited circumstances that may warrant selection of eligible applications outside of a strictly applied rank order because such application is critical to the success of a project that provides conservation benefits to multiple producers or landowners in a community, watershed, or other geographic area.
(c) Public information. Pursuant to the terms of the partnership agreement, NRCS or the lead partner will make available to the public sign-up information, including the identification of program and priority resource concerns, a listing of eligible activities, payment rates for certain eligible activities, State supplemental guidance, and contact information for the RCPP State coordinators available to assist partners and applicants with the program.
(d) Applications in CCAs. (1) NRCS will identify the designated CCAs and publish priority resource concerns for a CCA project.
(2) NRCS will select eligible applications for program contracts within CCAs that address one or more priority resource concerns for which the CCA is designated.
(3) NRCS will identify the priority resource concerns and associated ranking criteria in any announcement under § 1464.20.
(4) Lands outside of a CCA are not eligible for applications in the CCA, even where conservation efforts on such land may influence resource concerns within the CCA.[85 FR 8137, Feb. 13, 2020, as amended at 86 FR 3744, Jan. 15, 2021]