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NRCS Publishes Correction to Conservation Stewardship Program Rule

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) published in the Federal Register a correction to two definitions in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) regulation.  In particular, when NRCS published its final rule last winter, the definition for “resource-conserving crop rotation” was inadvertently omitted from the published Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  The CSP correction reincorporates this definition as it had appeared in the November 2019 CSP interim rule.  

Additionally, NRCS is making a technical correction to the definition of “resource-conserving crop.”  This definition as it appeared in the CFR included “a small grain or other resource-demanding crop grown in combination with a grass, legume, other forbs, or grass-forb mixture, whether interseeded, relay-planted into the resource-demanding crop, or planted in rotation.”

NRCS intended the clause “or other resource demanding crop” to identify that a resource demanding crop (i.e., on which returns little residue, uses large amounts of water, high nutrient need) is considered resource conserving when grown in combinations with the other plants identified.  But the unexpected outcome of this wording was the interpretation that “a small grain” is a resource demanding crop.  

Therefore, in the CSP correction, NRCS has revised the definition for “resource-conserving crop” to remove reference to “small grain or other resource-demanding crop” and instead reflect the plant characteristics and functions that are resource conserving, including a “non-fragile residue or high residue crop or a crop that efficiently uses soil moisture, reduces irrigation water needs, or is considered drought tolerant.”  This language better describes the range of crops that are resource-conserving.

View the correction.

See the 2018 Farm Bill Rules page for more information.