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USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standard Updates

USDA Seeks Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standard Updates

October 28, 2019, WASHINGTON – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comments on 13 conservation practice standards. Per direction from the 2018 Farm Bill, NRCS will gather feedback on 94 practices over the coming months through posting on the Federal Register. Comments on these current 13 practice standards are due by Thursday, November 21.

These standards provide guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices. The 13 updated conservation practice standards are:

  • Contour Buffer Strips (Code 332)

  • Dam, Diversion (Code 348)

  • Deep Tillage (Code 324)

  • Irrigation and Drainage Tailwater Recovery (Code 447)

  • Irrigation Canal or Lateral (Code 320)

  • Irrigation Ditch Lining (Code 428)

  • Irrigation Field Ditch (Code 388)

  • Irrigation Reservoir (Code 436)

  • Land Clearing (Code 460)

  • Obstruction Removal (Code 500)

  • Surface Roughening (Code 609)

  • Waste Treatment (Code 629)

  • Waterspreading (Code 640)

NRCS helps America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners plan and implement conservation practices to help them meet their business and natural resource needs. Farm Bill-funded programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program help cover the costs for planning and implementing practices.

NRCS enlisted the public’s help and comments on how to improve conservation practice standards back in March of this year. These current updates are based on that valuable feedback and NRCS’s efforts to improve the standards to meet the needs of the nation’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

Improvements to the conservation practice standards include expanding and updating the scope for new technology and increasing opportunities to establish or improve on habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects. Revisions also involve formatting and writing style updates to meet current agency requirements and editing text to improve clarity.

Submitting Comments

Copies of the proposed revised standards are available through http://www.regulations.gov by accessing Docket No. NRCS-2019-0011. Alternatively, the proposed revised standards can be downloaded or printed from http://go.usa.gov/TXye

When submitting comments, please include the volume, date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal:  Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for docket ID NRCS-2019-0011.  Follow the 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 Avenue, South Building, Room 6136, Washington, D.C. 20250.
     

More Information 

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides income support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. 

NRCS is using comments as part of updating standards. For more information on how NRCS is implementing the Farm Bill, visit NRCS’ Federal Register Notices webpage or farmers.gov/farmbill.

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