In this section, the term “eligible participant” means a producer, landowner, or entity that is participating in, or seeking to participate in, programs for which the producer, landowner, or entity is otherwise eligible to participate in under this chapter or the agricultural management assistance program under section
1524 of title
(b) Purpose of technical assistance
The purpose of technical assistance authorized by this section is to provide eligible participants with consistent, science-based, site-specific practices designed to achieve conservation objectives on land active in agricultural, forestry, or related uses.
(c) Provision of technical assistance
The Secretary shall provide technical assistance under this chapter to an eligible participant—
(2)through an agreement with a third-party provider; or
(3)at the option of the eligible participant, through a payment, as determined by the Secretary, to the eligible participant for an approved third-party provider, if available.
(d) Non-Federal assistance
The Secretary may request the services of, and enter into cooperative agreements or contracts with, other agencies within the Department or non-Federal entities to assist the Secretary in providing technical assistance necessary to assist in implementing conservation programs under this chapter.
(e) Certification of third-party providers
The purpose of the third-party provider program is to increase the availability and range of technical expertise available to eligible participants to plan and implement conservation measures.
Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the Secretary shall promulgate such regulations as are necessary to carry out this section.
In promulgating such regulations, the Secretary, to the maximum extent practicable, shall—
(A)ensure that persons with expertise in the technical aspects of conservation planning, watershed planning, and environmental engineering, including commercial entities, nonprofit entities, State or local governments or agencies, and other Federal agencies, are eligible to become approved providers of the technical assistance;
(B)provide national criteria for the certification of third party  providers; and
(C)approve any unique certification standards established at the State level.
Effective for fiscal year 2008 and each subsequent fiscal year, funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation made available to carry out technical assistance for each of the programs specified in section
3841 of this title shall be available for the provision of technical assistance from third-party providers under this section.
(2) Term of agreement
An agreement with a third-party provider under this section shall have a term that—
(A)at a minimum, is equal to the period beginning on the date on which the agreement is entered into and ending on the date that is 1 year after the date on which all activities performed pursuant to the agreement have been completed;
(B)does not exceed 3 years; and
(C)can be renewed, as determined by the Secretary.
(3) Review of certification requirements
Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the Secretary shall—
(A)review certification requirements for third-party providers; and
(B)make any adjustments considered necessary by the Secretary to improve participation.
(4) Eligible activities
(A) Inclusion of activities
The Secretary may include as activities eligible for payments to a third party  provider—
(i)technical services provided directly to eligible participants, such as conservation planning, education and outreach, and assistance with design and implementation of conservation practices; and
(ii)related technical assistance services that accelerate conservation program delivery.
The Secretary shall not designate as an activity eligible for payments to a third party  provider any service that is provided by a business, or equivalent, in connection with conducting business and that is customarily provided at no cost.
(5) Payment amounts
The Secretary shall establish fair and reasonable amounts of payments for technical services provided by third-party providers.
(g) Availability of technical services
(1) In general
In carrying out the programs under this chapter and the agricultural management assistance program under section
1524 of title
7, the Secretary shall make technical services available to all eligible participants who are installing an eligible practice.
(2) Technical service contracts
In any case in which financial assistance is not provided under a program referred to in paragraph (1), the Secretary may enter into a technical service contract with the eligible participant for the purposes of assisting in the planning, design, or installation of an eligible practice.
(h) Review of conservation practice standards
(1) Review required
The Secretary shall—
(A)review conservation practice standards, including engineering design specifications, in effect on the date of the enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008;
(B)ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, the completeness and relevance of the standards to local agricultural, forestry, and natural resource needs, including specialty crops, native and managed pollinators, bioenergy crop production, forestry, and such other needs as are determined by the Secretary; and
(C)ensure that the standards provide for the optimal balance between meeting site-specific conservation needs and minimizing risks of design failure and associated costs of construction and installation.
In conducting the review under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall consult with eligible participants, crop consultants, cooperative extension and land grant universities, nongovernmental organizations, and other qualified entities.
(3) Expedited revision of standards
If the Secretary determines under paragraph (1) that revisions to the conservation practice standards, including engineering design specifications, are necessary, the Secretary shall establish an administrative process for expediting the revisions.
(i) Addressing concerns of specialty crop, organic, and precision agriculture producers
(1) In general
The Secretary shall—
(A)to the maximum extent practicable, fully incorporate specialty crop production, organic crop production, and precision agriculture into the conservation practice standards; and
(B)provide for the appropriate range of conservation practices and resource mitigation measures available to producers involved with organic or specialty crop production or precision agriculture.
(2) Availability of adequate technical assistance
(A) In general
The Secretary shall ensure that adequate technical assistance is available for the implementation of conservation practices by producers involved with organic, specialty crop production, or precision agriculture through Federal conservation programs.
In carrying out subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall develop—
(i)programs that meet specific needs of producers involved with organic, specialty crop production or precision agriculture through cooperative agreements with other agencies and nongovernmental organizations; and
(ii)program specifications that allow for innovative approaches to engage local resources in providing technical assistance for planning and implementation of conservation practices.
 So in original. Probably should be “third-party”.
This chapter, referred to in subsecs. (a), (c), (d), and (g)(1), was in the original “this title”, meaning title XII of Pub. L. 99–198, which enacted this chapter and former section
2005a of this title and amended sections
2009 of this title, sections
4209 of Title
7, Agriculture, and provisions set out as a note under section
1981 of Title
The date of the enactment of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, referred to in subsecs. (e)(2), (f)(3), and (h)(1)(A), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 110–246, which was approved June 18, 2008.
Section 2701 ofPub. L. 107–171, which directed that subtitle E of the Food Security Act of 1985 be amended by striking section
1242 and adding a new section
1242 (this section), was executed by striking section 1242 of subtitle E of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 and adding the new section
1242 in lieu thereof, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.
2014—Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 113–79substituted “specialty” for “speciality” in heading.
2008—Pub. L. 110–246, § 2706, amended section generally. Prior to amendment, section related to: in subsec. (a), provision of technical assistance to an eligible producer directly or through an approved third party; and, in subsec. (b), establishment of a system to certify third-party providers, transition provisions for persons that had provided assistance before May 13, 2002, and cooperative agreements or contracts with non-Federal entities.
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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