Under the terms of a contract entered into under this subpart, during the term of the contract, an owner or operator of a farm or ranch shall agree—
(1)to implement a plan approved by the local conservation district (or in an area not located within a conservation district, a plan approved by the Secretary) for converting eligible land normally devoted to the production of an agricultural commodity on the farm or ranch to a less intensive use (as defined by the Secretary), such as pasture, permanent grass, legumes, forbs, shrubs, or trees, substantially in accordance with a schedule outlined in the plan;
(2)to place highly erodible cropland subject to the contract in the conservation reserve established under this subpart;
(3)not to use the land for agricultural purposes, except as permitted by the Secretary;
(4)to establish approved vegetative cover (which may include emerging vegetation in water), water cover for the enhancement of wildlife, or, where practicable, maintain existing cover on the land, except that—
(A)the water cover shall not include ponds for the purpose of watering livestock, irrigating crops, or raising fish for commercial purposes; and
(B)the Secretary shall not terminate the contract for failure to establish approved vegetative or water cover on the land if—
(i)the failure to plant the cover was due to excessive rainfall or flooding;
(ii)the land subject to the contract that could practicably be planted to the cover is planted to the cover; and
(iii)the land on which the owner or operator was unable to plant the cover is planted to the cover after the wet conditions that prevented the planting subsides;
(5)to undertake management on the land as needed throughout the term of the contract to implement the conservation plan;
(6)on a violation of a term or condition of the contract at any time the owner or operator has control of the land—
(A)to forfeit all rights to receive rental payments and cost sharing payments under the contract and to refund to the Secretary any rental payments and cost sharing payments received by the owner or operator under the contract, together with interest on the payments as determined by the Secretary, if the Secretary, after considering the recommendations of the soil conservation district and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, determines that the violation is of such nature as to warrant termination of the contract; or
(B)to refund to the Secretary, or accept adjustments to, the rental payments and cost sharing payments provided to the owner or operator, as the Secretary considers appropriate, if the Secretary determines that the violation does not warrant termination of the contract;
(7)on the transfer of the right and interest of the owner or operator in land subject to the contract—
(A)to forfeit all rights to rental payments and cost sharing payments under the contract; and
(B)to refund to the United States all rental payments and cost sharing payments received by the owner or operator, or accept such payment adjustments or make such refunds as the Secretary considers appropriate and consistent with the objectives of this subpart;
unless the transferee of the land agrees with the Secretary to assume all obligations of the contract, except that no refund of rental payments and cost sharing payments shall be required if the land is purchased by or for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or the transferee and the Secretary agree to modifications to the contract, in a case in which the modifications are consistent with the objectives of the program, as determined by the Secretary;
(8)not to conduct any harvesting or grazing, nor otherwise make commercial use of the forage, on land that is subject to the contract, nor adopt any similar practice specified in the contract by the Secretary as a practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of the contract, except that the Secretary may permit, consistent with the conservation of soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat (including habitat during nesting seasons for birds in the area)—
(A)managed harvesting (including the managed harvesting of biomass), except that in permitting managed harvesting, the Secretary, in coordination with the State technical committee—
(i)shall develop appropriate vegetation management requirements; and
(ii)shall identify periods during which managed harvesting may be conducted;
(B)harvesting and grazing or other commercial use of the forage on the land that is subject to the contract in response to a drought or other emergency;
(C)routine grazing or prescribed grazing for the control of invasive species, except that in permitting such routine grazing or prescribed grazing, the Secretary, in coordination with the State technical committee—
(i)shall develop appropriate vegetation management requirements and stocking rates for the land that are suitable for continued routine grazing; and
(ii)shall establish the frequency during which routine grazing may be conducted, taking into consideration regional differences such as—
(I)climate, soil type, and natural resources;
(II)the number of years that should be required between routine grazing activities; and
(III)how often during a year in which routine grazing is permitted that routine grazing should be allowed to occur; and
(D)the installation of wind turbines, except that in permitting the installation of wind turbines, the Secretary shall determine the number and location of wind turbines that may be installed, taking into account—
(i)the location, size, and other physical characteristics of the land;
(ii)the extent to which the land contains wildlife and wildlife habitat; and
(iii)the purposes of the conservation reserve program under this subpart;
(9)not to conduct any planting of trees on land that is subject to the contract unless the contract specifies that the harvesting and commercial sale of trees such as Christmas trees are prohibited, nor otherwise make commercial use of trees on land that is subject to the contract unless it is expressly permitted in the contract, nor adopt any similar practice specified in the contract by the Secretary as a practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of the contract, except that no contract shall prohibit activities consistent with customary forestry practice, such as pruning, thinning, or stand improvement of trees, on land converted to forestry use;
(10)not to adopt any practice specified by the Secretary in the contract as a practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of this subpart; and
(11)to comply with such additional provisions as the Secretary determines are desirable and are included in the contract to carry out this subpart or to facilitate the practical administration of this subpart.
(b) Conservation plans
The plan referred to in subsection (a)(1) of this section—
(1)shall set forth—
(A)the conservation measures and practices to be carried out by the owner or operator during the term of the contract; and
(B)the commercial use, if any, to be permitted on the land during the term; and
(2)may provide for the permanent retirement of any existing cropland base and allotment history for the land.
(1) In general
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an owner or operator who is a party to a contract entered into under this subpart may not be required to make repayments to the Secretary of amounts received under the contract if the land that is subject to the contract has been foreclosed on and the Secretary determines that forgiving the repayments is appropriate in order to provide fair and equitable treatment.
(2) Resumption of control
(A) In general
This subsection shall not void the responsibilities of an owner or operator under the contract if the owner or operator resumes control over the land that is subject to the contract within the period specified in the contract.
On the resumption of the control over the land by the owner or operator, the provisions of the contract in effect on the date of the foreclosure shall apply.
(d) Rental payment reduction for certain authorized uses of enrolled land
In the case of an authorized activity under subsection (a)(8) on land that is subject to a contract under this subpart, the Secretary shall reduce the rental payment otherwise payable under the contract by an amount commensurate with the economic value of the authorized activity.
2008—Subsec. (a)(5) to (7). Pub. L. 110–246, § 2107, added par. (5) and redesignated former pars. (5) and (6) as (6) and (7), respectively. Former par. (7) redesignated (8).
Subsec. (a)(8). Pub. L. 110–246, § 2108(a), added par. (8) and struck out former par. (8) which related to prohibition against harvesting, grazing, or other commercial use of the forage, with exception authorizing Secretary to permit managed harvesting and grazing if appropriate requirements were developed and timeframes identified or in a drought or other emergency, and exception for the installation of wind turbines.
Pub. L. 110–246, § 2107(1), redesignated par. (7) as (8). Former par. (8) redesignated (9).
Subsec. (a)(9) to (11). Pub. L. 110–246, § 2107(1), redesignated pars. (8) to (10) as (9) to (11), respectively.
2003—Subsec. (a)(7)(A)(iii). Pub. L. 108–7inserted before semicolon “, except that this clause shall not apply to the 2002 calendar year, and the Secretary shall repay the owner or operator (in a manner determined by the Secretary) for any reduction in rental payments made to the owner or operator as the result of the application of this clause to the 2002 calendar year”.
The table below lists the classification updates, since Jan. 3, 2012, for this section. Updates to a broader range of sections may be found at the update page for containing chapter, title, etc.
The most recent Classification Table update that we have noticed was Tuesday, August 13, 2013
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