1470.24 Payments.§ 1470.24 Payments.
(a) Annual payments. Subject to the availability of funds, NRCS will provide, as appropriate, annual payments under the program to compensate a participant for installing and adopting additional conservation activities, and for improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities across the entire agricultural operation in a manner that increases or extends the conservation benefits in place at the time NRCS accepts the contract offer. A split-rate annual payment structure is used to provide separate payments for additional and existing conservation activities in order to place emphasis on implementing additional conservation.
(1) NRCS will make equal annual payments for the existing activity portion of the payment, specific to the operation, based on the land uses and NRCS assessment of existing stewardship. NRCS will make payments for the additional conservation activities based on the complexity and extent of the individual activities completed by the participant during the previous fiscal year. Additional activities implemented may vary from year to year, so the total annual payment may fluctuate;
(2) In order to receive an annual payment for a land use, participants must schedule, install, and adopt at least one additional conservation activity on the land use type;
(3) At least one additional conservation activity must be implemented 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 activity for reasons beyond their control;
(4) NRCS will base the annual payment rates, to the maximum extent practicable, on the following factors:
(i) Costs incurred by the participant associated with planning, design, materials, installation, labor, management, maintenance, or training;
(ii) Income foregone by the participant;
(iii) Expected conservation benefits;
(iv) The extent to which priority resource concerns will be addressed through the installation and adoption of conservation activities on the agricultural operation;
(v) The level of stewardship in place at the time of application and maintained over the term of the contract;
(vi) The degree to which the conservation activities will be integrated across the entire agricultural operation for all State identified priority resource concerns over the term of the contract; and
(vii) Such other factors as determined by the Chief; and
(5) Participants will receive payments for cover crop activities at not less than 125 percent of the annual payment amount, as determined by NRCS.
(b) Supplemental payments. Subject to the availability of funds, NRCS will provide a supplemental payment to a participant receiving annual payments, who also agrees to adopt or improve a resource-conserving crop rotation or adopt advanced grazing management, as defined by NRCS, to achieve beneficial crop or grazing rotations as appropriate for the eligible land of the participant.
(1) NRCS will determine whether a resource-conserving crop rotation or advanced grazing management is eligible for supplemental payments based on whether the resource-conserving crop rotation or advanced grazing management is designed to provide natural resource conservation and production benefits;
(2) A participant must adopt or improve the resource-conserving crop rotation or adopt advanced grazing management during the term of the contract to be eligible to receive a supplemental payment;
(3) Supplemental payments will be based, to the maximum extent practicable, on the factors from paragraph (a)(4) of this section; and
(4) Supplemental payments will be not less than 150 percent of the annual payment amount, as determined by NRCS.
(c) Comprehensive conservation plan. Participants choosing to develop a comprehensive conservation plan through their conservation stewardship contract will receive a one-time payment for this activity. NRCS will determine the payment based on the number of priority resource concerns addressed in the comprehensive conservation plan and the number of types of land uses included in the plan. Participants will not be eligible to receive payment for plans developed prior to their enrollment in a conservation stewardship contract.
(d) Minimum contract payment. NRCS may make a minimum contract payment to a participant in any fiscal year in which the contract's payment amount total is less than a rate determined equitable by the Chief based upon the effort required by a participant to comply with the terms of the contract.
(e) Timing of payments. NRCS will make payments as soon as practicable after October 1 of each fiscal year for activities carried out in the previous fiscal year. For newly enrolled contracts, NRCS will make payments as soon as practicable after October 1 following the fiscal year of enrollment.
(f) Noncompensatory matters. NRCS will not provide a CSP payment to a participant for -
(1) New conservation activities applied with financial assistance through other USDA conservation programs;
(2) The design, construction, or maintenance of animal waste storage or treatment facilities, or associated waste transport or transfer devices for animal feeding operations;
(3) Conservation activities for which there is no cost incurred or income foregone by the participant; or
(4) New conservation activities initiated or implemented prior to contract approval, unless NRCS granted a waiver prior to the participant starting the activity.
(g) Payment limits. A person or legal entity may not receive, directly or indirectly, payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $200,000 under all CSP contracts entered into during fiscal years 2019 through 2023, excluding funding arrangements with Indian Tribes, regardless of the number of contracts entered into under the CSP by the person or legal entity.
(h) Contract limits. Each conservation stewardship contract will be limited to $200,000 over the term of the contract period, except that conservation stewardship contracts with any joint operation will be limited to $400,000 over the term of the contract period.
(i) Scope of payment and contract limitations for Indian Tribes and individual Tribal members. Contracts with Indian Tribes are not subject to payment or contract limitations but payment limitations in paragraph (f) of this section apply to individual Tribal member(s). Indian Tribes and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will certify in writing that no one individual, directly or indirectly, will receive more than the payment limitation. Certification provided at the time of enrollment will cover the entire contract period. The Tribal entity must also provide, upon request from NRCS, a listing of individuals and payment made, by Social Security number or other unique identification number, during the previous year for calculation of overall payment limitations.
(j) Tax Identification Number. To be eligible to receive a CSP payment, all applicants must provide a tax identification number. In accordance with 7 CFR part 1400, applicants who participate as a legal entity or joint operation must provide a list of all members of the legal entity or joint operation and associated embedded entities, along with the members' Social Security numbers and percentage interest in the legal entity or joint operation. NRCS attributes payments directly to legal entity members for the purpose of complying with paragraph (f) of this section.
(k) Unique identification numbers. American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders may use another unique identification number for each individual eligible for payment. Any participant that uses a unique identification number as an alternative to a tax identification number will use that identifier for all CSP contracts in which they participate.[84 FR 60891, Nov. 12, 2019, as amended at 85 FR 64002, Oct. 9, 2020]