Title 7

SECTION 1466.21

1466.21 Contract requirements.

§ 1466.21 Contract requirements.

(a) Requirement for a contract. For a participant to receive payments, the participant must enter into a contract agreeing to implement one or more conservation practices. Payment for technical services may be included in the contract pursuant to requirements of this part.

(b) Contract terms. An EQIP contract will -

(1) Identify all conservation practices to be implemented, the timing of practice installation, the O&M requirements for the practices, and applicable payments allocated to the practices under the contract;

(2) Have a term for no more than 10 years;

(3) Incorporate all provisions as required by law or statute, including requirements that the participant will -

(i) Not implement any practices on the enrolled land that would defeat the program's purposes,

(ii) Refund any program payments received with interest, and forfeit any future payments under the program, on the violation of a term or condition of the contract, consistent with the provisions of § 1466.26,

(iii) Refund all program payments received on the transfer of the right and interest of the producer in land subject to the contract, unless the transferee of the right and interest agrees to assume all obligations, including O&M of the EQIP contract's conservation practices, consistent with the provisions of § 1466.25,

(iv) Develop and implement any conservation practices identified in an EQIP plan of operations consistent with a CNMP when the EQIP contract includes an animal waste management facility on an AFO,

(v) Implement conservation practices consistent with an approved forest management plan when the EQIP plan of operations includes forest-related practices that address resource concerns on NIPF,

(vi) Supply information as required by NRCS to determine compliance with contract and program requirements, and

(vii) Specify the participant's responsibilities for the O&M of the applied conservation practices, consistent with the provisions of § 1466.22; and

(4) Specify any other provision determined necessary or appropriate by NRCS to achieve the technical requirements of a practice or purposes of the program.

(c) Timeline for implementation. At least one conservation practice must be scheduled for completion within the first 12 months of the contract; NRCS may extend this timeframe if NRCS determines that the participant is unable to complete the conservation practice for reasons beyond their control.

(d) Contract limitation. Each contract will be limited to no more than $450,000, unless the contract is with an Indian Tribe or the Chief grants a waiver. Contracts related to organic operations are also subject to payment limitations pursuant to § 1466.24(b).

(e) Waiver to contract limitation. (1) The Chief may waive the contract limitation set forth in paragraph (d) of this section if the Chief determines that -

(i) The waiver is in the best interests of the program; and

(ii) The contract involves either -

(A) A joint operation,

(B) A group project, such as for the development of an anaerobic digestor or the improvement of privately owned and operated irrigation systems that benefits multiple producers or a large area of land; or

(C) A water management entity for which NRCS has approved a payment limitation waiver.

(2) A contract for which the Chief has granted a waiver to the contract limitation set forth in paragraph (d) of this section shall be limited to no more than $900,000.

(f) Water conservation and irrigation efficiency projects with water management entities. NRCS may decline to select an EQIP application from a legal entity who is otherwise eligible under § 1466.6(d) if NRCS determines that the project is better suited to be implemented under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program or 7 CFR part 622.