CFO is the conservation incentive program that is designed to be the most
holistic and innovative of the conservation programs in the 1996 farm
bill--in short, the most SARE-like. Please help get the word out to
farmers and farm groups who might apply.
Note the QUICK TURNAROUND--due date June 1 for proposals from either
producers or groups who propose pilot project areas...in the second phase
(between June and Sept) individual producers will be able to sign up in
the pilot project areas identified in the first phase. (Individual
producers can make proposals in this first phase, too.) There is a great
opportunity here to support producers that are interested in alternatives.
The NRCS national office has faxed the applications to state offices
yesterday, and they should be in NRCS field offices shortly.
PLEASE NOTE THAT I HAVE NO FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE CFO; USE CONTACT
INFOMATION GIVEN BELOW.
[Federal Register: April 21, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 76)]
>From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Commodity Credit Corporation
Conservation Farm Option Pilot Programs
AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation, United States Department of
ACTION: Notice of Request for Proposals (RFP) to establish Conservation
Farm Option (CFO) Pilot Programs.
SUMMARY: Section 335 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform
Act of 1996 (the 1996 Act) established the Conservation Farm Option
(CFO) Pilot Programs. The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC)
administers the CFO under the general supervision of a Vice President
of the CCC who is the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS), with concurrence throughout the process by the
Executive Vice President of the CCC who is the Administrator of the
Farm Service Agency (FSA). CCC is requesting proposals from
individuals, States or subdivisions thereof, Tribes, universities, and
other organizations to cooperate in the development and implementation
of CFO pilot programs for producers of wheat, feed grains, upland
cotton, and rice.
DATES: Proposals must be received by June 1, 1998.
ADDRESSES: Please send proposals to one of the following individuals:
Gary Nordstrom, Director, Conservation Operations Division, Natural
Resources Conservation Service, P.O. Box 2890, Attention CFO,
Washington, DC 20013-2890; or George T. Denley, Director, Conservation
and Environmental Programs Division, Farm Service Agency, Mail Stop
0513, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20013-0513;
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Smith, Water Issues Team Leader,
Conservation Operations Division, Natural Resource and Conservation
Service, phone 202-720-3524; fax: 202-720-4265; e-mail:
email@example.com, Attention: CFO; or Edward Rall, Economic and Policy
Analysis Staff, Farm Service Agency, phone 202-720-7795; fax: 202-720-
8261; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Attention: CFO.
Availability of Funding in Fiscal Year 1998
Congress authorized a $15 million CFO pilot program for fiscal year
1998. Effective on the date of publication of this notice, proposals
will be accepted from individuals, States, Tribes, universities, and
other organizations to establish CFO pilot programs for producers of
wheat, feed grains, upland cotton, and rice who have production
flexibility contracts under the Agricultural Market Transition Act. The
proposals must be for the purpose(s) of conserving soil, water, and
related resources; protecting or improving water quality; restoring,
protecting and creating wetlands; developing and protecting wildlife
habitat; or other similar conservation purposes. Other requirements set
forth in this notice must also be met. Proposals must be received by
June 1, 1998. Contracts for FY 1998 funds need to be executed by
September 30, 1998.
Traditional agricultural conservation programs provide farmers and
ranchers with cost-share and land retirement payments as incentives to
protect and conserve soil, water, and other natural resources, and
provide technical assistance to implement conservation practices. In
certain cases, however, these traditional programs lack sufficient
flexibility to allow farmers and ranchers to operate in a manner they
consider optimal or to address natural resource concerns for which
warrant innovative solutions. The CFO is intended to promote innovative
and environmentally-sound methods for addressing these concerns. CFO
pilot programs should address resource problems and needs that are well
documented and on a scale that will facilitate the evaluation of the
effectiveness of the systems/practices installed, as well as that of
the entire program. CFO pilot programs are intended to be simple,
flexible, and should reward sustainable agricultural production
practices and support locally led conservation goals. The CFO pilot
program will substitute a single payment for the different types of
payments available under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the
Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), and the Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP), provide an incentive for coordinated, long-
term natural resource planning, and be flexible enough to allow farmers
and ranchers to operate in economically efficient, but innovative ways.
The CFO provides for a locally led approach by allowing individual
farmers and ranchers or groups of farmers and ranchers to implement
innovative solutions to natural resource problems and encourages
implementation of sustainable agricultural production practices. The
CFO is a program that permits farmers and ranchers to maximize
environmental benefits with minimal land retirement, while maintaining
Overview of the Conservation Farm Option Pilot Program
In accordance with the Food Security Act of 1985 as amended (1985
Act), CCC will establish CFO pilot programs for producers of wheat,
feed grains, upland cotton, and rice. Only those owners and producers
that have a farm with contract acres enrolled in production flexibility
contracts established under the 1996 Act are eligible to participate in
the CFO. Producers accepted into the CFO must enter into 10-year
contracts which may be extended an additional 5 years. The purposes of
CFO pilot programs include: (1) Conservation of soil, water, and
related resources; (2) water quality protection or improvement; (3)
wetland restoration, protection, and creation; (4) wildlife habitat
development and protection; and (5) other similar conservation
purposes. To enroll in the program, the 1985 Act requires producers to
prepare a conservation farm plan which becomes part of the CFO
contract. The plan describes all conservation practices to be
implemented and maintained on acreage subject to contract. An important
goal is to promote the adoption of resource conserving crop rotations
while maintaining agricultural production and maximizing
environmental benefits. The 1985 Act also requires the plan to contain
a schedule for the implementation and maintenance of the practices,
comply with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements
of Title XII of the 1985 Act, and contain such other terms as the
Secretary may require. Producers must also agree to forgo payments
under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Wetlands Reserve
Program (WRP), and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
In lieu of these payments, the 1985 Act requires the Secretary to offer
annual payments under the contract that are equivalent to the payments
the owner or producer would have received had the owner or producer
participated in the CRP, the WRP and the EQIP. CCC will determine the
CFO payment rates taking into consideration the payments that would
have been received under the CRP, WRP, and EQIP, as applicable. CRP
payments will not exceed the maximum bid price accepted for similar
land in the vicinity.
The CFO pilot program will substitute a single annual payment for
the different types of payments available under the CRP, the WRP, and
EQIP, provide an incentive for coordinated, long-term natural resource
planning, and be flexible enough to allow farmers and ranchers to
operate in economically efficient, but innovative ways. The CFO
provides for a locally-led approach by allowing individual farmers and
ranchers, or groups of and ranchers to implement innovative solutions
to natural resource problems and encourages implementation of
sustainable agricultural production practices. The CFO is a program
that permits farmers and ranchers to maximize environmental benefits
with minimal land retirement, while maintaining agricultural
CCC will determine CFO participation in a two step process: First,
CCC will select CFO pilot project areas based on proposals submitted by
the public; then, CCC will accept applications from eligible producers
within the selected pilot project areas.
CFO Pilot Projects
CFO pilot projects will address resource problems and needs that
are well documented and on a scale that will facilitate the evaluation
of the effectiveness of the systems and practices installed, as well as
that of the entire program. CFO pilot projects are intended to be
simple, flexible, and should encourage sustainable agricultural
production practices and support locally led conservation goals.
CCC will select CFO pilot project areas based on the extent the
1. demonstrates innovative approaches to conservation program
delivery and administration;
2. demonstrates innovative conservation technologies and systems;
3. creates environmental benefits in a cost effective manner;
4. addresses conservation of soil, water, and related resources,
water quality protection or improvement; wetland restoration,
protection, and creation; and wildlife habitat development and
5. ensures effective monitoring and evaluation of the pilot effort;
6. considers multiple stakeholder participation (partnerships)
within the pilot area; and
7. provides additional non-Federal funding.
An interdepartmental committee made up of representatives of
several Federal agencies will review the proposals and make
recommendations to the Chief, NRCS, who is a Vice President of the CCC,
based on criteria available to the public in the CFO proposal package.
The CFO proposal package includes the CFO Pilot Proposal Form CCC-1210,
instructions for completion of the CCC-1210, and the criteria for
evaluating proposals. The CFO proposal package is available from any
FSA or NRCS local office. CCC will give preference to proposals that
have high ratings based on the criteria upon which proposals will be
Pilot projects can involve either an individual or a group. In
either case, to be considered for enrollment in CFO, each individual or
entity within an approved pilot project area must submit an application
which is the basis for the contract between the participant and CCC.
Producers of wheat, feed grains, upland cotton, and rice who have
farms with contract acres enrolled in production flexibility contracts
established under the Agricultural Market Transition Act are eligible
No funds will be paid or transferred to any group, or entity or
individual other than through the CFO contracts with the individual
Pilot Project Area Proposal Submission
Any individual, organization, or entity may submit a proposal for a
CFO pilot program. Proposals must be submitted according to
instructions found in the CFO proposal package available from any FSA
or NRCS local office.
For group proposals, the individual, organization, or entity
submitting the proposal will be responsible for providing leadership in
the overall local planning effort which may include education,
information delivery, monitoring and coordination with local, state or
subdivisions thereof, tribal, and Federal agencies.
Individual CFO pilot program participants will be responsible for
meeting CFO pilot program requirements on their farm or ranch,
including development and implementation of a comprehensive, long-term
conservation farm plan, and will be responsible for education,
information delivery, and monitoring, if included in the proposal.
Minimum Requirements of CFO Pilot Program Proposals
A completed CFO pilot proposal form. Participation in CFO projects
shall be open to all production flexibility contract holders without
regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability,
political beliefs and marital or familial status.
Monitoring and Impact Assessment
An important goal of the CFO pilot programs is to assess the
impacts of the systems/practices applied by monitoring key
environmental indicators. Individuals may seek assistance from NRCS in
meeting any applicable assessment and/or monitoring requirements.
Results from impact assessments will be used to develop and modify
existing and future conservation systems, practices, and programs.
If a participant fails to carry out the terms and conditions of a
CFO contract, CCC may terminate the CFO contract. If the CFO contract
is terminated by CCC: the participant shall forfeit all rights to
further payments under such contract and may be requested to refund all
payments previously received with interest and pay liquidated damages
to CCC for CRP and WRP type practices in the amount specified in such
Selection of CFO Pilot Program Proposals/Inter-Departmental Review
The most important aspect of the program is its capacity to test
new approaches to achieving environmental benefits, through either
program design or new technology. Preference will be given to proposals
that could not be funded by other programs, such as CRP, WRP or EQIP.
Proposals will be reviewed by an interdepartmental committee which
make recommendations to the Chief, NRCS based on criteria set forth in
the CFO proposal package. The review committee may be drawn from the
Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land
Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Cooperative Extension Service,
Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, Department
of Energy, Economic Research Service, Environmental Protection Agency,
Farm Service Agency, Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The Chief, NRCS, will
select proposals for funding. Upon selection of pilot project
proposals, all producers with production flexibility contracts under
AMTA within project areas will be eligible to participate in the CFO.
CFO conservation farm plans will be approved by NRCS and the CFO
contracts will be approved and payments made by the local FSA office.
Signed in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1998.
Pearlie S. Reed,
Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 98-10511 Filed 4-20-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-16-P
To Unsubscribe: Email email@example.com with "unsubscribe sanet-mg".
To Subscribe to Digest: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command