16 U.S. Code § 3838f - Stewardship contracts
(a) Submission of contract offers
To be eligible to participate in the conservation stewardship program, a producer shall submit to the Secretary a contract offer for the agricultural operation that—
(1) demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that the producer, at the time of the contract offer, meets or exceeds the stewardship threshold for at least 2 priority resource concerns; and
(2) would, at a minimum, meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for at least 1 additional priority resource concern by the end of the stewardship contract by—
(b) Evaluation of contract offers
(1) Ranking of applications
In evaluating contract offers submitted under subsection (a), the Secretary shall rank applications based on—
(A) the level of conservation treatment on all applicable priority resource concerns at the time of application;
(B) the degree to which the proposed conservation activities effectively increase conservation performance;
(C) the number of applicable priority resource concerns proposed to be treated to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold by the end of the contract;
(D) the extent to which other priority resource concerns will be addressed to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold by the end of the contract period;
(E) the extent to which the actual and anticipated conservation benefits from the contract are provided at the least cost relative to other similarly beneficial contract offers; and
The Secretary may not assign a higher priority to any application because the applicant is willing to accept a lower payment than the applicant would otherwise be eligible to receive.
(c) Entering into contracts
After a determination that a producer is eligible for the program under subsection (a), and a determination that the contract offer ranks sufficiently high under the evaluation criteria under subsection (b), the Secretary shall enter into a conservation stewardship contract with the producer to enroll the eligible land to be covered by the contract.
(d) Contract provisions
(2) Required provisions
The conservation stewardship contract of a producer shall—
(A) state the amount of the payment the Secretary agrees to make to the producer for each year of the conservation stewardship contract under section 3838g (d) of this title;
(B) require the producer—
(i) to implement a conservation stewardship plan that describes the program purposes to be achieved through 1 or more conservation activities;
(ii) to maintain and supply information as required by the Secretary to determine compliance with the conservation stewardship plan and any other requirements of the program; and
(C) permit all economic uses of the eligible land that—
(D) include a provision to ensure that a producer shall not be considered in violation of the contract for failure to comply with the contract due to circumstances beyond the control of the producer, including a disaster or related condition, as determined by the Secretary;
(E) include provisions requiring that upon the violation of a term or condition of the contract at any time the producer has control of the land—
(i) if the Secretary determines that the violation warrants termination of the contract—
(3) Change of interest in land subject to a contract
(A) In general
At the time of application, a producer shall have control of the eligible land to be enrolled in the program. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a change in the interest of a producer in eligible land covered by a contract under the program shall result in the termination of the contract with regard to that land.
(B) Transfer of duties and rights
Subparagraph (A) shall not apply if—
(i) within a reasonable period of time (as determined by the Secretary) after the date of the change in the interest in eligible land covered by a contract under the program, the transferee of the land provides written notice to the Secretary that all duties and rights under the contract have been transferred to, and assumed by, the transferee for the portion of the land transferred;
(4) Modification and termination of contracts
(A) Voluntary modification or termination
The Secretary may modify or terminate a contract with a producer if—
(e) Contract renewal
At the end of the initial 5-year contract period, the Secretary may allow the producer to renew the contract for 1 additional 5-year period if the producer—
(2) agrees to adopt and continue to integrate conservation activities across the entire agricultural operation, as determined by the Secretary; and
(3) agrees, by the end of the contract period—
(A) to meet the stewardship threshold of at least 2 additional priority resource concerns on the agricultural operation; or
Source(Pub. L. 99–198, title XII, § 1238F, as added Pub. L. 110–234, title II, § 2301(a)(2),May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1042, and Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title II, § 2301(a)(2),June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 1770; Pub. L. 113–79, title II, § 2101(a),Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 723.)
Pub. L. 110–234and Pub. L. 110–246enacted identical sections. Pub. L. 110–234was repealed by section 4(a) ofPub. L. 110–246.
A prior section 3838f,Pub. L. 99–198, title XII, § 1238F, as added Pub. L. 101–624, title XIV, § 1439,Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 3596, related to report to Congress, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 104–127, title III, § 336(h),Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1007.
2014—Pub. L. 113–79amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to stewardship contracts.