7 CFR § 1470.3 - Definitions.

§ 1470.3 Definitions.

The following definitions will apply to this part and all documents issued in accordance with this part, unless specified otherwise:

Agricultural operation means all eligible land, as determined by NRCS, whether contiguous or noncontiguous that is:

(1) Under the effective control of a producer at the time of enrollment in the program; and

(2) Operated by the producer with equipment, labor, management, and production or cultivation practices that are substantially separate from other agricultural operations.

Applicant means a producer who has requested in writing to participate in CSP.

Beginning farmer or rancher means a person or legal entity who:

(1) Has not operated a farm, ranch, or nonindustrial private forest land (NIPF), or who has operated a farm, ranch, or NIPF for not more than 10 consecutive years. This requirement applies to all members of a legal entity who will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch.

(2) In the case of a contract with an individual, individually, or with the immediate family, material and substantial participation requires that the individual provide substantial day- to-day labor and management of the farm or ranch, consistent with the practices in the county or State where the farm is located.

(3) In the case of a contract with a legal entity or joint operation, all members must materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch. Material and substantial participation requires that each of the members provide some amount of the management or labor and management necessary for day-to-day activities, such that if each of the members did not provide these inputs, operation of the farm or ranch would be seriously impaired.

Chief means the Chief of NRCS, United States Department of Agricultural (USDA), or designee.

Conservation activities mean conservation systems, practices, enhancements or management measures. The term conservation activities includes structural measures, vegetative measures, and land management measures, including agricultural drainage management systems as determined by NRCS, and planning needed to address a priority resource concern.

Conservation district means any district or unit of State, Tribal, or local government formed under State, Tribal, or territorial law for the express purpose of developing and carrying out a local soil and water conservation program. Such district or unit of government may be referred to as a “conservation district,” “soil conservation district,” “soil and water conservation district,” “resource conservation district,” “land conservation committee,” “natural resource district,” or similar name.

Conservation practice means structural practices, land management practices, vegetative practices, forest management practices, and other improvements that achieve the program purposes, including such items as Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans, agricultural energy management plans, dryland transition plans, forest management plans, integrated pest management and other actions as approved by the Chief. Approved conservation practices are listed in the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG).

Conservation stewardship plan means a plan developed in accordance with the requirements of § 1470.22.

Conservation system means a combination of conservation practices, management measures, and enhancements used to address natural resource and environmental concerns in a comprehensive, holistic, and integrated manner.

Contract means a legal document that specifies the rights and obligations of any participant who has been accepted into the program. A CSP contract is a binding agreement for the transfer of assistance from NRCS to the participant for installing, adopting, improving, managing, and maintaining conservation activities.

Effective control means possession of the land by ownership, written lease, or other legal agreement and authority to act as decision maker for the day-to-day management of the operation both at the time the applicant enters into a stewardship contract and for the required period of the contract.

Eligible land means:

(1) Private and tribal land on which agricultural commodities, livestock, or forest-related products are produced; and

(2) Upon which priority resource concerns could be addressed through a contract under the program. Eligible land includes cropland, grassland, rangeland, pastureland, nonindustrial private forest land, and other agricultural lands including cropped woodland, marshes, and agricultural land used or capable of being used for the production of livestock as determine by the Chief.

Enhancement means a type of conservation activity used to treat natural resources and improve conservation performance. Enhancements are equal to or greater than the performance level for the quality criteria identified for a given resource concern. Quality criteria are defined for each resource concern in Section III - Conservation Management Systems, Field Office Technical Guide.

Field office technical guide means the official local NRCS source of resource information and interpretations of guidelines, quality criteria, and standards for planning and implementation of conservation practices. It contains detailed information on the quality standard to achieve conservation of soil, water, air, plant, energy, and animal resources applicable to the local area for which it is prepared.

Historically underserved producer means a person, joint operation, legal entity, or Indian Tribes who is a beginning farmer or rancher, socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, or limited resource farmer or rancher.

Indian lands means land held in trust by the United States for individual Indians or Indian Tribes, or all land titles held by individual Indians or Tribes, subject to Federal restrictions against alienation or encumbrance, or land which is subject to the rights of use, occupancy, and/or benefit of certain Indian Tribes. This term also includes lands for which the title is held in fee status by an Indian, Indian family, or Indian Tribe.

Indian Tribe means any Indian Tribe, band, nation, pueblo, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1601et seq.), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.

Joint operation means, as defined in 7 CFR part 1400, a general partnership, joint venture, or other similar business organization in which the members are jointly and severally liable for the obligations of the organization.

Legal entity means, as defined in 7 CFR part 1400, an entity created under Federal or State law that owns land or an agricultural commodity, product, or livestock; or produces an agricultural commodity, product, or livestock.

Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher means:

(1) A person with direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed value in each of the previous 2 fiscal years (adjusted for inflation using Prices Paid by Farmer Index as compiled by the National Agricultural Statistical Service); and

(2) Has a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four, or less than 50 percent of county median household income in each of the previous 2 years (to be determined annually using Department of Commerce Data).

(3) It also includes a legal entity or joint operation if all individual members independently qualify under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this definition.

Liquidated damages means a sum of money stipulated in the CSP contract that the participant agrees to pay NRCS if the participant fails to fulfill the terms of the contract. The sum represents an estimate of the technical assistance expenses incurred to service the contract, and reflects the difficulties of proof of loss and the inconvenience or non-feasibility of otherwise obtaining an adequate remedy.

Management measure means one or more specific actions that is not a conservation practice, but has the effect of alleviating problems or improving the treatment of the natural resources.

National Organic Program means the program established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.), administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service, which regulates the standards for any farm, wild crop harvesting, or handling operation that wants to market an agricultural product as organically produced.

Natural Resources Conservation Service means an agency of USDA which has responsibility for administering CSP using the funds, facilities, and authorities of the CCC.

Nonindustrial private forest land means rural land, as determined by NRCS, that has existing tree cover or is suitable for growing trees, and is owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation, Indian Tribe, or other private legal entity that has definitive decision-making authority over the land.

Operation and maintenance means work performed by the participant to maintain existing conservation activities to at least the level of conservation performance identified at the time of enrollment, and maintain additional conservation activities installed and adopted over the contract period. Operation includes the administration, management, and performance of non-maintenance actions needed to keep the completed activity functioning as intended. Maintenance includes work to prevent deterioration of the activity, repairing damage, replacement or restoration of the activity to its original condition if one or more components fail.

Participant means a producer that has entered into a CSP contract and is receiving payment or is responsible for implementing the terms and conditions of a CSP contract.

Payment means financial assistance provided to the participant under the terms of the CSP contract.

Person means, as defined in 7 CFR part 1400, an individual, natural person and does not include a legal entity.

Priority resource concern means a natural resource concern or problem, as determined by NRCS, and is likely to be addressed successfully through implementation of conservation activities under this program. The term “applicable” priority resource concern means a resource concern identified by the State as a priority for a particular area of a State or region, and the term “other” priority resource concern means a resource concerns identified at the National level.

Producer means a person, legal entity, joint operation, or Indian Tribe who either has an interest in the agricultural operation or who NRCS determines is engaged in agricultural production or forestry management on the agricultural operation.

Resource-conserving crop means a crop that is one of the following:

(1) A perennial grass;

(2) A legume grown for use as forage, seed for planting, or green manure;

(3) A legume-grass mixture;

(4) A small grain grown in combination with a grass, legume, forbs, grass-forbs mixture, whether inter-seeded or planted in rotation.

Resource-conserving crop rotation means a crop rotation that:

(1) Includes at least one resource- conserving crop as determined by NRCS;

(2) Reduces erosion;

(3) Improves soil fertility and tilth;

(4) Interrupts pest cycles; and

(5) In applicable areas, reduces depletion of soil moisture or otherwise reduces the need for irrigation.

Secretary means the Secretary of USDA.

Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher means a producer who is a member of a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudices without regard to its members' individual qualities.

State Technical Committee means a committee established by the NRCS in a State pursuant to 7 CFR part 610, subpart C.

Stewardship threshold means the level of management required, as determined by NRCS, to conserve and improve the quality and condition of a natural resource.

Technical assistance means technical expertise, information, and tools necessary for the conservation of natural resources on land active in agricultural, forestry, or related uses. The term includes the following:

(1) Technical services provided directly to farmers, ranchers, Indian Tribes, forest producers, and other eligible entities, such as conservation planning, technical consultation, preparation of forest stewardship management plans, and assistance with the design and implementation of conservation activities; and

(2) Technical infrastructure, including processes, tools, and agency functions needed to support delivery of technical services, such as technical standards, resource inventories, training, data, technology, monitoring, and effects analyses.

Technical Service Provider (TSP) means an individual, private-sector entity, Indian Tribe, or public agency certified by NRCS pursuant to 7 CFR part 652 and placed on the approved list to provide technical services to participants; or selected by the Department to assist the Department in the implementation of conservation programs covered by this part through a procurement contract, contribution agreement, or cooperative agreement with the Department.

Veteran farmer or rancher means a producer who meets the definition in section 2501(e) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, as amended (7 U.S.C. 2279(e)).