1464.5 Program requirements.§ 1464.5 Program requirements.
(a) General requirements.
(1) Program participation is voluntary.
(2) NRCS and lead partners enter into partnership agreements that identify the purposes and scope of RCPP projects under the framework of a partnership agreement.
(3) NRCS and lead partners enter into supplemental agreements to facilitate assistance to producers.
(4) NRCS enters into program contracts with producers to provide program assistance to eligible producers to implement eligible activities on eligible land.
(5) NRCS may enter into an alternative funding arrangement with a lead partner for the lead partner to deliver program assistance directly to producers in accordance with § 1464.25 of this part.
(b) Partner eligibility. An eligible partner may include:
(1) An agricultural or silvicultural producer association or other group of producers;
(2) A State or unit of local government, including a conservation district;
(3) An Indian Tribe;
(4) A farmer cooperative;
(5) An institution of higher education;
(6) A water district, irrigation district, acequia, rural water district or association, or other organization with specific water delivery authority to producers on agricultural land;
(7) A municipal water or wastewater treatment entity;
(8) An organization or entity with an established history of working cooperatively with producers on agricultural land, as determined by the Secretary, to address -
(i) Local conservation priorities related to agricultural production, wildlife habitat development, and NIPF management; or
(ii) Critical watershed-scale soil erosion, water quality, sediment reduction, or other natural resource concerns; or
(9) An eligible entity as identified by NRCS pursuant to 7 CFR part 1468.
(c) Producer eligibility. To be eligible to receive payments or benefits under the program, each producer must -
(1) Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions found at part 12 of this title;
(2) Meet the adjusted gross income payment limitations under part 1400 of this chapter unless waived by the Chief;
(3) Have effective control of the land;
(4) Supply information, as required by NRCS, to determine eligibility for the program, including but not limited to, information that verifies the producer's status as a historically underserved producer, compliance with part 12 of this title, and compliance with adjusted gross income payment eligibility as established by part 1400 of this chapter; and
(5) For producers operating as a legal entity or joint operation, provide a list of all members of the legal entity or joint operation and embedded entities along with each members' tax identification numbers and percentage interest in the entity. However, where applicable, American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders may use another unique identification number for each individual eligible for payment.
(d) Eligible land. Land may be considered eligible for enrollment in RCPP if NRCS determines that:
(1) The land is private or Tribal agricultural land, nonindustrial private forest land, or associated land on which an eligible activity would help achieve the conservation benefits defined for an approved project; or
(2) The land is publicly owned agricultural land or associated land and the enrollment of such land is -
(i) Appropriate for the type of eligible activity, and
(ii) The eligible activity to be implemented on the public land is necessary and will contribute meaningfully to achieving conservation benefits consistent with an approved project.
(e) Eligible activities. (1) In each partnership agreement, NRCS will identify the eligible activities that are available to producers and landowners through the project. Eligible activities may include land management, land rental activities, easements, or watershed type projects. Projects may use more than one type of eligible activity.
(2) NRCS may approve interim conservation practice standards or activities if -
(i) New technologies or management approaches that provide a high potential for optimizing conservation benefits have been developed; and
(ii) The interim conservation practice standard or activity incorporates the new technologies and provides financial assistance for pilot work to evaluate and assess the performance, efficiency, and effectiveness of the new technology or management approach.
(f) Technical service provision. (1) NRCS may use the services of a qualified TSP, including a qualified eligible partner, in meeting its responsibilities for technical assistance.
(2) Producers or eligible partners may use technical services from qualified personnel of other Federal, State, and local agencies, Indian Tribes, or individuals who are certified as TSPs under 7 CFR part 652.
(3) Technical services provided by qualified personnel not affiliated with USDA may include but are not limited to: Conservation planning; conservation practice survey, layout, design, installation, and certification; information, education, and training for producers; and other program implementation services as identified by NRCS.
(4) NRCS retains approval authority of work done by non-NRCS personnel for the purpose of approving RCPP payments.[85 FR 8137, Feb. 13, 2020, as amended at 85 FR 15051, Mar. 17, 2020]