USDA seeks public comments on conservation practice standards
WASHINGTON — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced it is seeking public input on its existing national conservation practice standards as part of implementing the 2018 farm bill.
NRCS offers 150-plus conservation practices to America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to help them meet their business and natural resource needs on their working lands.
“With the help of NRCS, agricultural producers across the country are taking voluntary steps to improve their operations while benefiting natural resources,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “As part of our process of implementing the 2018 farm bill, we are asking agricultural producers, conservation partners and others to provide feedback on our practice standards in an effort to refine and enhance them.”
NRCS is requesting public comments on how to improve conservation practice standards that support programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, which help producers cover part of the costs for implementing these practices. The comment period ends April 25, 2019. More information can be found in the Federal Register.
These standards provide guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices.
2018 FARM BILL
As part of implementing the 2018 farm bill, NRCS is reviewing conservation practices by:
• Evaluating opportunities to increase flexibility while ensuring natural resource benefits.
• Seeking avenues for the optimal balance between meeting site-specific conservation needs and minimizing risks of design failure and associated construction and installation costs.
• Ensuring, 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 others.
Comments may be submitted using any of the following methods:
• Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
• Mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attention: National Environmental Engineer, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Room 6130-S, Washington, DC 20250.
NRCS will use comments as part of updating standards. For more information on how NRCS is implementing the farm bill, visit farmers.gov/farmbill. ❖