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NRCS proposes changing conservation practice standards

Public comment accepted through April 23 on proposal to change standards that include practices affecting waterways and erosion control.

Public comment is sought by the Natural Resources Conservation Service on proposed revisions to 49 national conservation practice standards through a posting in the Federal Register. The public comment period closes April 23, 2020.

The 49 updated national conservation practice standards include:

  • 12 agronomic practices for water quality and erosion control
  • Two aquaculture practices
  • Three forestry practices
  • Six practices affecting waterways
  • Five drainage-related practices
  • Seven livestock-related practices
  • Three energy and air quality practices
  • Eight water conservation practices
  • Three farm traffic-related practices

The 2018 Farm Bill required NRCS to review all 169 existing national conservation practices to seek opportunities to increase flexibility and incorporate new technologies to help the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners better protect natural resources on their working lands.

“We are taking a close look at our conservation practice standards to make sure they make sense – both for farmers and for natural resources," said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr.

As part of its review, NRCS wanted to ensure, as much as possible, that the standards used to carry out the conservation practices are relevant to local agricultural, forestry and natural resource needs, including specialty crops, native and managed pollinators, bioenergy crop production and forestry. NRCS plans to seek public comment on additional conservation practice standards through the Federal Register process throughout 2020.

Improvements to the 49 revised conservation practice standards include expanding and updating their scope to incorporate new technology and increase flexibility, enhancing water conservation practices such as irrigation, and addressing wildlife issues.

NRCS’s conservation practices offer guidelines for planning, installing, operating, and maintaining conservation practices used by farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners nationwide.

Submitting comments       

Copies of the proposed revisions to the 49 conservation practice standards are available through http://regulations.gov by accessing docket number NRCS-2020-0001. The proposed revised standards can also be downloaded or printed here.

When submitting comments, please include the volume, date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted using several methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to https://www.regulations.gov/ and search for docket number NRCS-2020-0001. Follow instructions for submitting comments.

Mail or Hand Delivery: Mr. Bill Reck, National Environmental Engineer, Conservation Engineering Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, NRCS, 1400 Independence Ave., South Building, Room 6136, Washington, D.C. 20250.

Source: USDA NRCS, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

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