GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: Farm Bill Expiration Impacts and Continuations

Aurora Cooperative 1 month ago

The following information is communication from Allison Rivera, Executive Director of Government Affairs at
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington, D.C.

Since Congress did not pass an extension of the current Farm Bill when it expired at midnight on September 30th, some programs have expired and/or run out of funding. EQIP was funded through 2019 via previous appropriations. The NCBA team has spoken to Jimmy Bramblett, the Deputy Chief for Programs at NRCS to get a better idea on the details of other conservation programs and funding. A memo from USDA was sent to state conservationists providing information on applications, eligibility, and additional guidance. The guidance also provides state and county offices with timing flexibility. NRCS has limited contract renewals to uncontroversial programs that are not the subject of Farm Bill conference negotiations. Funding for these contract renewals came from a funding extension put in place last year. The extension applies only to EQIP contracts.

**The following NRCS programs are impacted as follows since the current Farm Bill has expired:

Conservation Stewardship Program

  • There will be no funding for new acres after September 30, 2018. Payments will be made on acres enrolled or reenrolled by October 1, 2018. The Adjusted Gross Income limitation still applies

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

  • The program is authorized and funded through the end of FY2019, though the payment limits will expire. NRCS is evaluating options for addressing the payment limit expiration. The Adjusted Gross Income limitation still applies.

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

  • The authority for the program does not expire with the Farm Bill, though there is no new funding. NRCS will be able to use carryover funds to enter into new agreements.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

  • Existing projects will continue, but the agency will not be authorized to enter into new agreements. There may be limitations related to future CSP contracts under existing agreements.

 

These are the pots of money that state NRCS offices have available until further notice:

National Air Quality Initiative
National On-Farm Energy Initiative
National Organic Initiative
High Tunnel System
StrikeForce Initiative
Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Initiative
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
Honey Bee Pollinator Initiative
Long Leaf Pine Initiative
Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative
National Water Quality Initiative
Working Lands for Wildlife
Monarch Butterfly Habitat Development Project
Disaster Relief Funding
Conservation Activity Plans
Watersmart
Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program

RCPP-EQIP only under the following conditions:
The agreement does not contain CSP
It is an existing agreement from FY15, FY16, or FY17 (agreements pending execution are not eligible)

 

Please check with your local NRCS or FSA office for your specific programs and situation.