Out of the funds made available to carry out this subpart, the Secretary may pay the cost of competitive grants that are intended to stimulate innovative approaches to leveraging the Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production or forest resource management, through the program.
The Secretary shall provide payments under this subsection to producers to implement practices to address air quality concerns from agricultural operations and to meet Federal, State, and local regulatory requirements. The funds shall be made available on the basis of air quality concerns in a State and shall be used to provide payments to producers that are cost effective and reflect innovative technologies.
In carrying out paragraph (2), the Secretary shall enter into agreements with producers (either directly or through eligible entities) on whose land an on-farm conservation innovation trial is being carried out to provide payments (including payments to compensate for foregone income, as appropriate to address the increased economic risk potentially associated with new or innovative conservation approaches) to the producers to assist with adopting and evaluating new or innovative conservation approaches to achieve conservation benefits.
None of the funds made available to carry out this subsection may be used to pay for the administrative expenses of an eligible entity.
The scale of adoption of a new or innovative conservation approach under an on-farm conservation innovation trial under an agreement under paragraph (2) may include multiple scales on an operation, including whole farm, field-level, or sub-field scales.
The Secretary shall identify a diversity of geographic regions of the United States in which to establish on-farm conservation innovation trials under paragraph (2), taking into account factors such as soil type, cropping history, and water availability.