USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is making changes regarding technical input in conservation programs.
“NRCS is committed to efficiently and effectively implementing the Farm Bill and delivering on our promise to America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr.
NRCS published an interim final rule in the Federal Register to make the existing regulations consistent with the changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. NRCS is accepting comments on this rule through July 5, 2019.
The 2018 Farm Bill makes some changes in NRCS’s programs, including:
- Expanding the membership of State Technical Committees;
- Waiving the requirement for certain duplicative or unnecessary watershed plans under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, which authorizes NRCS to install watershed improvement measures to reduce flooding and advance conservation and proper utilization of land;
- Expanding the purposes of the Healthy Forests Reserve Program to add: protection of at-risk species in conserving forest land, permanent easements as an enrollment option for Tribal lands, and land identified as being in the greatest need to improve the well-being of a species;
- Authorizing that certification of technical service providers be through a qualified non-federal entity; and
- Requiring that $3 million of the funds to implement the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program be used to encourage public access for hunting and other recreational activities on wetlands enrolled in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.
You may submit comments by any of the following methods through the Federal eRulemaking Portal on Docket ID USDA-2019-0005. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
As part of implementing the 2018 Farm Bill, NRCS and other USDA agencies publish interim final rules and other documents available for public viewing and comment on the Federal Register. On March 11, 2019, NRCS published a notice and request for comment on conservation practice standards. For more information on how USDA is implementing the Farm Bill, visit farmers.gov/farmbill.