7 CFR 632.22 - Contracts.
(a) Cost-sharing contracts. A land user who has an approved reclamation plan may enter into a contract with NRCS to receive Federal cost-share assistance. All land users are to sign the contract. A land user is required to furnish evidence of management control, such as a long-term lease, recorded deed, or land contract, and must have the written consent of the landowner. The NRCS contracting officer is to sign the contract after determining that all documents meet program requirements.
(b) Effect of contract. A land user who signs a contract is obligated to apply or arrange for the application of the land use and conservation treatment as scheduled in the reclamation plan according to approved standards and specifications. A land user may request NRCS to award and administer a contract to apply the conservation treatment as scheduled in the reclamation plan in accordance with § 632.16(a)(3).
(c) Permits, landrights, and water rights. The land user is responsible for obtaining the permits, surface land- rights, and water rights that may be required to perform the planned work. NRCS is to assist land users in identifying the specific permit, landright, or water right required.
(d) Operation and maintenance. During the contract period the land user is responsible for the operation and maintenance of applied conservation treatment. Operation and maintenance requirements are to be included in the contract.
(e) Period of contract. The contract period is to be no less than 5 nor more than 10 years. A contract is to extend for at least 3 years after the application of the last cost-shared conservation treatment to insure adequate establishment of vegetation and other treatment. Exceptions to the 3-year provision may be granted by the state conservationist for unusual circumstances.
(f) Transfer of contract.
(1) If during the contract period all or part of the right and interest in the land is transferred by sale or other action, the contract is terminated on the land unit that was transferred and the land user:
(i) Forfeits all right to any future cost-share payments on the transferred land unit, and
(ii) Must refund cost-share payments that have been made on the transferred land unit not to exceed the difference between the estimated value of the land at the time of entering into the contract and at the time of transfer, unless the new land user becomes a party to the contract as provided in paragraph (f)(2) of this section.
(2) If the new land user becomes a party to the contract:
(i) He is to assume all obligations of the previous land user on the transferred land unit.
(ii) The contract with the new land user is to remain in effect with the original terms and conditions.
(iii) The contract is to be modified in writing to show the changes caused by the transfer. If the modification is not acceptable to the contracting officer, the provisions of paragraphs (f)(1) (i) and (ii) of this section apply.
(3) The transfer of all or part of a land unit by a land user does not affect the rights and obligations of other land users who have signed the contract.
(g) Modification of contract.
(1) A contract previously entered into with a land user may be modified only with the approval of the State conservationist or as authorized under established policies. No contract may be modified unless it is determined that the modification is desirable to carry out the program.
(2) Contracts may be modified to add, delete, substitute, or reapply conservation treatment if:
(i) Applied conservation treatment failed to achieve the desired results through no fault of the land user,
(ii) Applied treatment deteriorated because of conditions beyond the control of the land user, or
(iii) Other treatment is substituted that will achieve the desired results.
(h) Joint contract. A land user may enter a contract jointly with other land users subject to the 320 acres maximum limitation per landowner. However, joint participation is permitted only if it will result in better land use and treatment than individual participation or if it is required by §§ 632.14 and 632.18(a)(2).
(i) Termination of contract. Contracts may be terminated by mutual consent of the signatories only if the State conservationist determines that the termination is authorized under established policies and is in the public interest. In this case, the State conservationist is to determine the amount of refund.