The following procedures will implement the Regional Equity provision:
(a)Determine initial allocations. NRCS will determine initial conservation program funding levels for each State through a merit-based, natural resource focused allocation process as determined by the Chief.
(b)Determine the funding opportunity. The combined initial allocation funding level for Regional Equity programs, by State, will be compared to the Regional Equity threshold to determine each Regional Equity State's funding opportunity.
(c)Establish contribution program fund levels. Subject to availability of funds, contribution program fund levels are determined by:
(1) Identifying which programs contribute funds, as determined by the Chief, consistent with the limitations established in 16 U.S.C. 3841(d); and
(2) Each State's respective demand.
(i) State Conservationists in Regional Equity States, in consultation with State Technical Committees, will evaluate and determine their respective program demands based on the following criteria:
(A) Program applications and how they address national program priorities;
(B) Historic trends in program interest; and
(C) State priority natural resource concerns.
(ii) The State Conservationist's identified respective demand will assist the Chief in determining the composition of contribution program funds within the established drawing account.
(d)Establish the drawing account. NRCS will establish a drawing account for each contribution program, as determined in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this section, and will give priority before April 1 of each fiscal year for such funds to be used to fund applications in Regional Equity States sufficient to bring each of the Regional Equity States to the Regional Equity threshold of $15,000,000.
(e)Access the drawing account. State Conservationists in Regional Equity States may request access to that State's assigned portion of the drawing account once that State has obligated at least 90 percent of its initial allocation for that same program. The Chief may waive the 90 percent threshold requirement for a specific program in response to specific program needs.
(f)Re-allocation of funds. The program-specific drawing accounts for Regional Equity States will be available until April 1 of each fiscal year, after which date the remaining funds may be re-allocated at the discretion of the Chief.
Title 7 published on 2014-01-01
The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 7.
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