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USDA Seeks Public Comment on More Revised Conservation Practice Standards

Clint Thompson General

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to 49 national conservation practice standards through a posting in the Federal Register. The proposed revisions were posted this week and the public comment period closes April 23, 2020.

There 49 updated national conservation practice standards include:

  • agronomic practices for water quality and erosion control
  • Two aquaculture practices
  • Three forestry practices
  • Six practices affecting waterways
  • Five drainage-related practices
  • Seven livestock-related practices
  • Three energy and air quality practices
  • Eight water conservation practices
  • Three farm traffic-related practices

The 2018 Farm Bill required NRCS to review all 169 existing national conservation practices to seek opportunities to increase flexibility and incorporate new technologies to help the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners better protect natural resources on their working lands.

As part of its review, NRCS wants to ensure that the standards used to carry out the conservation practices are relevant to local agricultural, forestry and natural resource needs, including specialty crops, native and managed pollinators, bioenergy crop production and forestry.

NRCS’s conservation practices offer guidelines for planning, installing, operating and maintaining conservation practices used by farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners nationwide.

NRCS is encouraging agricultural producers, landowners, organizations, tribes, and others that use its conservation practices to comment on these revised conservation practice standards. Go to regulations.gov and search for docket number NRCS-2020-0001. Follow instructions for submitting comments.