Thursday, January 29, 2009

Headlines and Proposed Rulemaking

Headlines are here.

There are a wealth of new rulemakings out there, and USDA has extended the payment eligibility effort for another 60 days. Here is a note I received from Tom Reddick regarding the others:

Farm Bill Program Regulations Released
Last week, USDA released several conservation program
regulations that reflect changes made in the 2008 Farm
Bill. The list of newly released regulations includes
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Wetlands
Reserve Program (WRP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program
(WHIP), Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP),
Healthy Forest Reserve Program (HFRP), Technical Service
Providers (TSP) and the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP).
The regulations are effective immediately, but NRCS will
take comments and recommended changes over the next few

The 2008 Farm Bill alters some operations of these programs
and creates new opportunities for conservation districts.
The NACD Legislative Committee will review the regulations
and develop comments to submit to NRCS. NACD encourages
state associations and districts to do the same.

Deadlines for submitting comments are as follows:
* Comments on the Healthy Forest Reserve Program are
due by February 13, 2009;

* Comments on the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
and the Wetlands Reserve Program are due by March 16, 2009;

* Comments on the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, the
Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program and the Technical
Service Provider Assistance are due by March 17, 2009; and

* Comments on the Grasslands Reserve Program are due by
March 23, 2009.

Additional information on the regulations can be found on
the NRCS website at To view
NACD's previous comments to NRCS and USDA regarding Farm
Bill program regulations, go to .

Request for Proposals Released for Agricultural Water
Enhancement Program
NRCS recently released a request for proposals for the
Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) under the
2008 Farm Bill.

AWEP is a new sub-program of EQIP that addresses
water-related issues on a broader scale than individual
contracts. Activities may include water conservation
restoration or enhancement projects, irrigation efficiency
or improvement projects, drought mitigation and water
quality plan development. As specified in the law, funding
under this program will be for producer/landowner specific
contracts, not project administration. Producers may
participate individually in AWEP or collectively through a
partnership project. NRCS expects $58.4 million to be
available for AWEP in fiscal year 2009.

States and conservation districts that are interested in
working with producers on these types of water-related
partnership projects should submit proposals directly to
NRCS to utilize available funds. Proposals are due by
March 2, 2009. Additional information can be found at .

As well as the following:

LPE Learning Center Information on
EPA Emissions Reporting for AFOs - Large CAFOs May Need to Report under

On December 18, 2008, the US EPA published a final rule that clarified
which livestock facilities must report air emissions from their
facilities. The two laws of interest in this are the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and
Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA).
Animal agriculture was granted an administrative exemption from
reporting air emissions that normally occur from raising farm animals
under CERCLA. Additionally, farms that are not large Concentrated
Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) according to NPDES permitting rules,
are exempt from reporting under EPCRA. Previous drafts of the rule had
essentially created a complete exemption for reporting air emissions
from animal agriculture, so this rule came as a complete surprise to
many producers, industry representatives, and those who advise

The rule is effective on January 20, 2009. Large CAFOs may face
increasing liability for non-compliance following this date.
The Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Center Air Quality team
has assembled information about this rule including determining
responsibility, estimating emissions, and making a report.


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