Title 7

SECTION 1465.25

1465.25 Contract violations and termination.

§ 1465.25 Contract violations and termination.

(a) If NRCS determines that a participant is in violation of the terms of a contract, O&M agreement, or other documents incorporated into the contract, NRCS will give the participant notice and 60 days, unless otherwise determined by the State Conservationist, to correct the violation and comply with the terms of the contract and attachments thereto. If a participant continues in violation, the State Conservationist may terminate the AMA contract.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of (a) of this section, a contract termination will be effective immediately upon a determination by the State Conservationist that the participant has submitted false information or filed a false claim, or engaged in any act, scheme, or device for which a finding of ineligibility for payments is permitted under the provisions of § 1465.35, or in a case in which the actions of the party involved are deemed to be sufficiently purposeful or negligent to warrant a termination without delay.

(c) If NRCS terminates a contract, the participant will forfeit all rights to future payments under the contract and refund all or part of the payments received, plus interest. Participants violating AMA contracts may be determined ineligible for future NRCS-administered conservation program funding.

(1) The State Conservationist may require only a partial refund of the payments received if the State Conservationist determines that a previously installed conservation practice can function independently and is not affected by the violation or the absence of other conservation practices that would have been installed under the contract.

(2) If NRCS terminates a contract due to breach of contract, or the participant voluntarily terminates the contract before any contractual payments have been made, the participant will forfeit all rights for further payments under the contract and will pay such liquidated damages as prescribed in the contract. The State Conservationist will have the option to waive the liquidated damages depending upon the circumstances of the case.

(i) When making all contract termination decisions, NRCS may reduce the amount of money owed by the participant by a proportion that reflects the good faith effort of the participant to comply with the contract or the existence of hardships beyond the participant's control that have prevented compliance with the contract. If the participant claims hardship, that claim must be well documented and cannot have existed when the applicant applied for participation in the program.

(ii) The participant may voluntarily terminate a contract if NRCS agrees based on NRCS' determination that termination is in the public interest.

(iii) In carrying out NRCS' role in this section, NRCS may consult with the local conservation district.