[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 93 (Friday, May 14, 2010)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 27165-27169]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-11595]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
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Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 93 / Friday, May 14, 2010 / Rules and 
Regulations

[[Page 27165]]



DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Commodity Credit Corporation

7 CFR Part 1410

RIN 0560-AH80


Conservation Reserve Program; Transition Incentives Program

AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA.

ACTION: Interim rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is amending the 
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) regulations to add provisions for 
incentives to retired or retiring owners or operators to transition 
land enrolled in CRP to a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher for production. The Transition Incentives Program involves new 
and mandatory provisions for CRP authorized by the Food, Conservation, 
and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill). Retired or retiring owners or 
operators of land enrolled in an expiring CRP contract who sell or 
lease their expiring CRP land to a beginning or socially disadvantaged 
farmer or rancher for the purpose of returning some or all of the land 
into production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods in 
compliance with the required conservation plan will, if otherwise 
approved for the Transition Incentives Program, receive CRP payments 
for an additional 2 years after the contract expires if the new or 
socially disadvantaged farmer is not a family member.

DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective May 14, 2010.
    Comment Date: We will consider comments that we receive by July 13, 
2010.

ADDRESSES: We invite you to submit comments on this interim rule. In 
your comment, include the volume, date, and page number of this issue 
of the Federal Register. You may submit comments by any of the 
following methods:
     E-Mail: cepdmail@wdc.usda.gov.
     Fax: 202-720-4619.
     Mail: Director, Conservation and Environmental Programs 
Division (CEPD), USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) CEPD, STOP 0513, 1400 
Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-0513.
     Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver comments to the above 
address.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments.
    Comments may be inspected at the mail address listed above between 
8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. A copy of 
this interim rule is available through the FSA home page at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Beverly J. Preston, CRP Program 
Manager, telephone 202-720-9563 or e-mail: cepdmail@wdc.usda.gov. 
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact 
the USDA Target Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    CRP was first authorized in the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 
U.S.C. 3830-3835a, commonly known as the 1985 Farm Bill). This rule 
amends the CRP regulations in 7 CFR part 1410 to implement provisions 
for the Transition Incentives Program as specified in section 2111 of 
the 2008 Farm Bill (Pub. L. 110-246). The 2008 Farm Bill requires other 
changes to the CRP program, several of which were published in a 
previous interim rule (74 FR 30907-30912) and others that will be 
implemented separately. This interim rule amends the CRP regulations to 
add the provisions needed to implement the Transition Incentives 
Program, including definitions and eligibility requirements.
    Section 2111 of the 2008 Farm Bill amends Section 1235 of the 1985 
Farm Bill (16 U.S.C. 3835) to authorize CRP contract modifications--

to facilitate a transition of land subject to the contract from a 
retired or retiring owner or operator to a beginning farmer or 
rancher or a socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher for the 
purpose of returning some or all of the land into production using 
sustainable grazing or crop production methods.

    Section 2111 further authorizes that ``in the case of a contract 
modification approved in order to facilitate the transfer'' that the 
Secretary of Agriculture will:
     Allow conservation and land improvements to be made;
     Allow the certification process under the Organic Foods 
Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6501) to begin;
     Require the retired or retiring owner to sell or lease the 
land subject to the contract for production purposes;
     Require the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher to develop and implement a conservation plan;
     Provide the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher the opportunity to enroll in the Conservation Stewardship 
Program or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program;
     Provide the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher with the option to reenroll any applicable partial field 
conservation practice that is eligible for enrollment under the 
continuous signup requirement of CRP, if part of an approved 
conservation plan; and
     Continue to make annual payments to the retired or 
retiring owner or operator for not more than an additional 2 years 
after the termination of the contract, if the beginning or socially 
disadvantaged farmer or rancher is not a family member.
    Section 2701 of the 2008 Farm Bill, by amendment to Section 1241 of 
the 1985 Farm Bill, requires that to the maximum extent practicable, 
$25 million in CCC funds be used for the Transition Incentives Program 
for fiscal years 2009 to 2012.
    The purpose of CRP is to cost-effectively assist producers in 
conserving and improving soil, water, wildlife, and other natural 
resources by converting environmentally-sensitive acreage generally 
devoted to the production of agricultural commodities to a long-term 
vegetative cover and to address issues raised by State, regional, and 
national conservation initiatives. Participants enroll land in CRP 
contracts for 10 to 15 years in exchange for annual rental payments and

[[Page 27166]]

financial assistance to install certain conservation practices and to 
maintain approved vegetative, tree, or other appropriate covers. The 
purpose and scope of CRP are not changing with this rule.
    This rule will allow retired or retiring CRP participants with land 
enrolled in an expiring CRP contract to amend their CRP contracts 
during the last year of the CRP contract to be permitted to transition 
that land to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers 
for the purpose of returning some or all of the land into production 
using sustainable grazing or crop production methods (also referred to 
as ``sustainable farming''). The rule provides a general definition of 
what would, for these purposes, be considered to be sustainable 
farming. Also, there is an allowance for incentive payments for CRP 
contracts that ended after the 2008 Farm Bill became law but before the 
publication of this rule. As an incentive, such CRP participants may be 
eligible for 2 additional years of CRP payments provided the retired or 
retiring owner or operator is not a family member of the beginning or 
socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.
    The 2008 Farm Bill defines ``family member'' as it is defined in 7 
U.S.C. 1308-1 (part of the 1985 Farm Bill), which defines it as an 
individual to whom another family member in the farming operation is 
related as a lineal ancestor, lineal descendent, sibling, spouse, or 
otherwise by marriage. This definition, which FSA and CCC use in many 
other programs, has been clarified in 7 CFR part 718 to include a 
specific list of individuals who are considered family members. To 
provide clarity and consistency with other FSA and CCC programs, the 
definition from 7 CFR part 718 will be used. Therefore, a ``family 
member'' will mean an individual to whom a person is related as spouse, 
lineal ancestor, lineal descendant, or sibling, including a:
    (1) Great grandparent;
    (2) Grandparent;
    (3) Parent;
    (4) Child, including a legally adopted child;
    (5) Grandchild;
    (6) Great grandchildren;
    (7) Sibling of the family member in the farming operation; and
    (8) Spouse of a person listed in items 1 through 7.
    Contracts on over 15 million acres of land enrolled in CRP are 
scheduled to expire between 2010 and October 2012.
    The goal of the CRP Transition Incentives Program is to assist 
beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers get a start in 
farming. Any beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is 
eligible to participate.
    The program provides an opportunity for beginning or socially 
disadvantaged farmers or ranchers to prepare the land enrolled in an 
expiring CRP contract for production using sustainable grazing or crop 
production methods up to one year before they farm the land. This 
program allows such farmers or ranchers to make conservation and land 
improvements or begin the process for organic certification during the 
last year of the expiring CRP contract. The program provides a 
financial incentive to increase the likelihood that land enrolled in an 
expiring CRP contract will be returned to production in a sustainable 
manner by providing additional CRP payments to retired or retiring 
owners and operators who sell or lease land for those purposes. This 
program, by offering an incentive to retired or retiring owners or 
operators of land enrolled in an expiring CRP contract, provides a 
significant opportunity to promote sustainable and organic farming.

Definitions

    This rule amends section 1410.2, ``Definitions,'' to add 
definitions for ``beginning farmer or rancher,'' ``retired or retiring 
owner or operator,'' and ``socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.''
    The 2008 Farm Bill gives the term ``beginning farmer or rancher'' 
for conservation programs the meaning given under the section 343(a)(8) 
of the Consolidated Farm Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)(8)), 
which in turn gives the Secretary discretion to define the term. That 
term has been defined in farm loan programs. This rule uses the same 
definition except for necessary modifications to reflect the different 
program involved. Under the adopted definition, the individual or 
entity must, as determined by CCC:
    (1) Have operated a farm or ranch for 10 years or less,
    (2) Have substantial involvement in the operation of the farm or 
ranch, and
    (3) If an entity, be an entity where 50 percent of the members or 
stockholders of such entity meet the previous two requirements.
    Also, Section 2111 of the 2008 Farm Bill uses the term ``retired or 
retiring owner or operator,'' but does not define it. This rule defines 
a retired or retiring owner or operator as a CRP participant who has 
stopped farming or expects to stop farming within five years of 
contract modification.
    Generally, the incentive will apply only to contracts expiring 
after the publication of this rule. There is an exception, however. The 
exception is for CRP contracts that expired after the effective date of 
the 2008 Farm Bill (June 18, 2008), but before the publication of this 
rule if transfer to the eligible new holder of the property will take 
place only after the approval of the modification, and if the contract 
modification becomes effective by September 30, 2010. The requirement 
that the transfer follow the modification reflects that this is an 
incentive program. The deadline is to reflect that the exception is 
intended to address only those situations where the finalization of a 
transfer may have been awaiting the publication of a rule.
    The 2008 Farm Bill specifies that this program use the definition 
of ``socially disadvantaged farmer and rancher'' given under 7 U.S.C. 
2279(e)(2), which is the definition used for other FSA and CCC farm 
programs. Accordingly and consistent with other FSA and CCC farm 
program regulations through which the 2008 Farm Bill has been 
implemented, socially-disadvantaged persons are defined in this rule to 
be any person of the following groups of persons: African Americans, 
American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asian Americans and 
Pacific Islanders.

Contract Modifications

    This rule amends the regulations in Sec.  1410.33, ``Contract 
Modifications,'' to provide that retired or retiring owners and 
operators can be permitted to modify their CRP contract if it is due to 
expire within one year to facilitate the transition of the land 
enrolled in that expiring CRP contract to a beginning or socially 
disadvantaged farmer or rancher for the purpose of returning some or 
all of the land into production using sustainable grazing or crop 
production methods. The limited exception for contracts that expired 
prior to this rule has been mentioned. This allows maximum benefit from 
the 2008 Farm Bill for CRP contracts that were in existence at the time 
the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted. Generally, the timing of the 
modification will mean that the CRP contract may be modified so that 
the transition activities may be initiated during the last year of the 
contract without violating the CRP contract. For example, activities to 
improve the land or to obtain organic certification beginning up to one 
year before the expiration date of the CRP contract will be allowed 
under such a modified contract.

[[Page 27167]]

Eligibility Requirements

    This rule adds a new section Sec.  1410.64, ``Transition Incentives 
Program,'' to specify eligibility provisions for the incentive. There 
are separate eligibility requirements for retired or retiring owners 
and operators with land enrolled in an expiring, or in limited cases, 
expired CRP contract and for beginning or socially disadvantaged 
farmers and ranchers.
    In the case of unexpired contracts, the retired or retiring CRP 
owner or operator with land enrolled in an expiring CRP contract must 
allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher to 
install conservation practices consistent with the conservation plan on 
the land during the last year of the contract, or begin the organic 
certification process under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 
U.S.C. 6501-6523). (The Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) implements 
that certification.)
    Both the retired or retiring owner or operator and the beginning or 
socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher must jointly apply for the 
Transition Incentives Program. To be eligible for the Transition 
Incentives Program, the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher must obtain and implement a conservation plan and certify that 
they are buying or leasing (under a qualifying lease) the expiring CRP 
land to return some or all of it into production using sustainable 
grazing or crop production methods.
    For the transfer, the retiring or retired owner or operator may 
either:
    (1) Sell,
    (2) Have a contract to sell, or
    (3) Lease under a nonrevocable long-term lease (at least 5 years), 
with or without an option to purchase the land.

Benefits to Participants

    Retired or retiring owners or operators are eligible to receive 2 
years of additional CRP rental payments as an incentive to participate 
in the Transition Incentives Program if the land is not sold or leased 
to a family member.
    The Transition Incentives Program does not provide payments to 
beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers for 
participation in this program. It provides indirect benefit to those 
farmers by paying eligible retired or retiring owners or operators to 
sell or lease eligible land to the beginning or socially disadvantaged 
farmer or rancher.
    The beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher will be 
provided the opportunity to enroll otherwise eligible land obtained 
through this program in various USDA conservation programs, including 
CRP, beginning the day after the CRP contract expires or after the 
transfer, whichever is later. This assumes that the land is still 
eligible and that the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer has a 
sufficient long-term interest in the program to sustain a 10 year 
contract. This rule changes the CRP regulations to provide an exception 
to make the new or disadvantaged farmer otherwise eligible to reenroll 
the land in CRP as required by the 2008 Farm Bill. This is a direct 
benefit for the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, 
because as currently specified in Sec.  1410.5, ``Eligible Persons,'' 
an owner or operator must have owned or operated the land for at least 
12 months before it can be enrolled in CRP. This rule adds a paragraph 
to Sec.  1410.5 to specify that the 12 month ownership provisions do 
not apply to eligible Transition Incentives Program participants. In 
addition, the beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher 
will be able to enroll all or part of the transitioned land in the 
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) or the Environmental Quality 
Incentives Program (EQIP) authorized under the regulations in 7 CFR 
parts 1470 and 1466, respectively. Again, this only applies if the 
conditions for those programs are otherwise met.

Program Operation

    CCC will implement this program through FSA county offices. CCC and 
FSA will not establish a formal program to match retired or retiring 
CRP landowners and operators with beginning or socially disadvantaged 
farmers or ranchers. However, FSA county offices will publicize the 
program to local FSA and CCC customers, and coordinate with Farm Loan 
Program personnel to provide program outreach to potentially eligible 
farmers and ranchers. Similarly, FSA will coordinate with the Natural 
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to help eligible beginning and 
socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers obtain the required 
conservation plan and apply for enrollment in other conservation 
programs, and coordinate with AMS to provide outreach about the organic 
certification process.
    One new form will be created for this program, which we anticipate 
will be a one-page agreement that both parties will sign and file with 
the FSA county office.

Notice and Comment

    CCC is not required by 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other provision of law 
to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking with respect to the subject 
matter of this rule. CCC is authorized by section 2904 of the 2008 Farm 
Bill to issue an interim rule effective on publication with an 
opportunity for comment.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule has been determined to be significant and was reviewed by 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under Executive Order 12866. 
The cost benefit analysis is summarized below and is available from the 
contact information listed above.

Summary of Economic Impacts

    The 2008 Farm Bill authorizes $25 million for incentive payments to 
retired or retiring owners and operators with expiring CRP contracts, 
who sell or long-term lease their former CRP land to beginning or 
socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers that are not family members. 
The retired or retiring owner or operator will receive CRP rental 
payments for 2 additional years beyond contract expiration to encourage 
participation. Targeted farmers or ranchers who purchase or lease the 
former CRP land are required to obtain a conservation plan and follow 
sustainable livestock and crop production practices.
    CRP Transitions Incentives Program participants are allowed to 
begin to make conservation and land improvements in the final CRP 
contract year. They also will be eligible for enrollment in three USDA 
conservation programs and may begin the organic certification process 
during the CRP contract's final year. Members of the retired or 
retiring owner or operator's family may participate in the CRP 
Transitions Incentives Program in order to obtain eligibility for 
enrollment in certain conservation programs, but the 2 additional years 
of rental payments would not be paid.
    If fully subscribed, an estimated 400 to 1,800 beginning or 
socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers would benefit. With an 
average CRP rental payment of $39 per acre to $49 per acre for 2 years, 
obligations are estimated at between $5.1 million and $17.1 million. 
These cost estimates reflect the total obligation for fiscal years 
2010-2012; payments would be made over a number of years, depending on 
when contracts expire. Due to the limited amount of eligible farmable 
quality CRP acreage likely to be offered for sale or lease, and the 
location of beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers relative to 
the location of eligible CRP lands, participation and costs are 
expected to be closer to the

[[Page 27168]]

lower end of this range than the high end.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    This rule is not subject to the Regulatory Flexibility Act since 
CCC is not required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking for this 
rule. CCC is authorized by section 2904 of the 2008 Farm Bill to issue 
an interim rule effective on publication with an opportunity for 
comment.

Environmental Evaluation

    The environmental impacts of this rule have been considered in a 
manner consistent with the provisions of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347), the regulations of the Council 
on Environmental Quality (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), and FSA regulations 
for compliance with NEPA (7 CFR part 799). The revisions to CRP 
regulations in 7 CFR part 1410 to implement certain changes related to 
the transition incentive for beginning and socially disadvantaged 
farmers and ranchers as provided by the 2008 Farm Bill that are 
identified in this interim rule are authorized to expend $25 million 
for this incentives program to the extent practicable. Furthermore, 
this program only applies to land that will be committed to 
sustainable, conservation-friendly practices and applies to land 
transitions out of the CRP that otherwise would be uncontrolled. These 
incentives focus on changing ownership of eligible lands, but are not 
intended to require or facilitate current land practice or land 
management changes. In response to public comments received during the 
scoping period for the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on 
CRP (74 FR 45606-45607), and the limited potential for significant 
environmental or socioeconomic impacts identified in the Cost Benefit 
Analysis, FSA has determined that the implementation of these changes 
related to the transition incentives for beginning and socially 
disadvantaged farmers and ranchers would not have any significant 
individual or cumulative impacts on the quality of the human 
environment. Therefore, no environmental impact statement will be 
prepared on this regulatory action.

Executive Order 12372

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372, which 
requires consultation with State and local officials. See the notice 
related to 7 CFR part 3015, subpart V, published in the Federal 
Register on June 24, 1983 (48 FR 29115).

Executive Order 12988

    This interim rule has been reviewed under Executive Order 12988, 
Civil Justice Reform. This rule does not preempt State or local laws, 
regulations, or policies unless they present an irreconcilable conflict 
with this rule. Before any judicial action may be brought concerning 
the provisions of this rule the administrative appeal provisions of 7 
CFR parts 11, 614, and 780 must be exhausted.

Executive Order 13132

    The policies contained in this rule do not have any substantial 
direct effect on States, on the relationship between the national 
government and the States, or on the distribution of power and 
responsibilities among the various levels of government. Nor does this 
rule impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local 
governments. Therefore, consultation with the States is not required.

Executive Order 13175

    The policies contained in this rule do not impose substantial 
unreimbursed direct compliance costs on Indian tribal governments or 
have tribal implications that preempt tribal law.

Unfunded Mandates

    This rule contains no Federal mandates under the regulatory 
provisions of Title II of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995 
(UMRA, Pub. L. 104-4) for State, local, or tribal governments, or the 
private sector. In addition, CCC is not required to publish a notice of 
proposed rulemaking for this rule. Therefore, this rule is not subject 
to the requirements of sections 202 and 205 of UMRA.

Federal Assistance Programs

    The title and number of the Federal assistance program in the 
Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance to which this rule applies is 
the Conservation Reserve Program--10.069.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The regulations in this rule are exempt from the requirements of 
the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35), as specified in 
section 2904 of the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides that these 
regulations be promulgated and the programs administered without regard 
to the Paperwork Reduction Act.

E-Government Act Compliance

    CCC is committed to complying with the E-Government Act, to promote 
the use of the Internet and other information technologies to provide 
increased opportunities for citizen access to Government information 
and services, and for other purposes.

List of Subjects in 7 CFR Part 1410

    Administrative practice and procedure, Agriculture, Environmental 
protection, Grant programs--Agriculture, Natural resources, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements, Soil conservation, Technical 
assistance, Water resources, Wildlife.

0
For the reasons discussed above, this rule amends 7 CFR part 1410 as 
follows:

PART 1410--CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM

0
1. The authority citation for 7 CFR part 1410 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 714b and 714c; 16 U.S.C. 3801-3847.


0
2. In Sec.  1410.2 add definitions in paragraph (b), in alphabetical 
order, for the terms: ``Beginning farmer or rancher,'' ``Retired or 
retiring owner or operator,'' and ``Socially disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher,'' as set forth below.


Sec.  1410.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    Beginning farmer or rancher means, as determined by CCC, a person 
or entity who:
    (1) Has not been a farm or ranch operator or owner for more than 10 
years,
    (2) Materially and substantially participates in the operation of 
the farm or ranch involved in the CRP contract modification, and
    (3) If an entity, is an entity in which 50 percent of the members 
or stockholders of the entity meet the first two requirements of this 
definition.
* * * * *
    Retired or retiring owner or operator means an owner or operator of 
land enrolled in a CRP contract who has ended active labor in farming 
operations as a producer of agricultural crops or expects to do so 
within 5 years of the CRP contract modification.
* * * * *
    Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher means a farmer or rancher 
who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group whose members have 
been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity 
as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. 
Gender is not included as a covered group. Socially disadvantaged 
groups include the following and no others unless approved in writing 
by the Deputy Administrator:

[[Page 27169]]

    (1) American Indians or Alaskan Natives,
    (2) Asians or Asian-Americans,
    (3) Blacks or African Americans,
    (4) Hispanics, and
    (5) Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  1410.5, add paragraph (c) to read as set forth below:


Sec.  1410.5  Eligible persons.

* * * * *
    (c) The provisions of this section do not apply to beginning or 
socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers who are eligible 
participants in the Transition Incentives Program as specified in Sec.  
1410.64.

0
4. Amend Sec.  1410.33 as follows:
0
a. In paragraph (a)(3), remove the word ``or'',
0
b. Redesignate current paragraph (a)(4) as (a)(5), and
0
c. Add a new paragraph (a)(4) to read as set forth below.


Sec.  1410.33  Contract modifications.

    (a) * * *
    (4) During the final year of the CRP contract's term, facilitate a 
transition of land subject to the contract from a retired or retiring 
owner or operator to a beginning or socially-disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher for the purpose of returning some or all of the land into 
production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods; 
provided that for this purpose ``sustainable grazing and crop 
production methods'' will be considered, as determined by the Deputy 
Administrator, to be methods that would be designed as part of an 
overall plan defined on an ecosystem level to be useful in the creation 
of integrated systems of plant and animal production practices that 
have a site specific application that would:
    (i) Meet human needs for food and fiber;
    (ii) Enhance the environment and the natural resource base;
    (iii) Use nonrenewable resources efficiently; and
    (iv) Sustain the economic viability of farming operation; or
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  1410.62, add paragraph (g) as follows:


Sec.  1410.62  Miscellaneous.

* * * * *
    (g) As determined by CCC, incentives may be authorized to foster 
opportunities for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and 
ranchers and to enhance long-term environmental goals.

0
6. Add Sec.  1410.64 to read as set forth below:


Sec.  1410.64  Transition Incentives Program.

    (a) To be eligible for the Transition Incentives Program, the 
retired or retiring owner or operator must, except as specified in 
paragraph (f) of this section:
    (1) Have land that is expiring under an existing CRP contract with 
a 50 percent or greater interest as provided at Sec.  1410.42 (c);
    (2) Sell or lease (under a qualifying nonrevocable lease of at 
least 5 years in length) expiring CRP land to a beginning or socially 
disadvantaged farmer or rancher who will return some or all of the land 
to production using sustainable grazing or crop production methods;
    (3) Modify the CRP contract in accordance with Sec.  1410.33(a)(4);
    (4) Allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher 
to begin the organic certification process under the Organic Foods 
Production Act of 1990 during the last year of the contract, if 
requested by that farmer or rancher;
    (5) Allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher 
to develop a conservation plan for the land; and
    (6) Allow the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher 
to install conservation practices and initiate land improvements that 
are consistent with the conservation plan during the last year of the 
contract.
    (b) To be eligible for participation in the Transition Incentives 
Program, the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers 
must:
    (1) Certify that they meet the definition in Sec.  1410.2 of either 
a beginning farmer or rancher or a socially disadvantaged farmer or 
rancher;
    (2) Obtain and implement a conservation plan; and
    (3) Implement sustainable grazing or crop production in compliance 
with the conservation plan by the time specified in the plan.
    (c) Eligible beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or 
ranchers will be eligible immediately to reenroll partial field 
conservation practices in CRP, in accordance with the conservation plan 
and the provisions of this part, following the expiration of the CRP 
contract of the qualified retired or retiring owner or operator, 
provided that the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher 
has control of the property and meets all other qualifying conditions 
of CRP, as specified in this part.
    (d) Eligible beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers or 
ranchers will be eligible to enroll land in the Conservation 
Stewardship Program or the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, as 
specified in parts 1470 and 1466 of this chapter, provided that their 
offer to enroll otherwise meets all program conditions, and provided 
that the CRP contract of the retired or retiring owner or operator has 
expired and the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher 
has sufficient control of the property.
    (e) As an incentive for selling or leasing land to a beginning or 
socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher who is not a family member, 
CCC will pay 2 years of additional CRP annual rental payments at the 
same contract rate to a retired or retiring owner or operator. The 
retired or retiring owner or operator must certify that the beginning 
or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is not a family member.
    (f) Subject to all other program conditions, incentive payments may 
be allowed for contracts that have already expired if:
    (1) The contract expired on or after June 18, 2008, and contract 
modification began on or before September 30, 2010;
    (2) The transfer to the beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer 
or rancher will occur after the contract modification; and
    (3) All other program conditions are otherwise met.
    (g) Eligible retired or retiring owner or operator and eligible 
beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher must agree to be 
jointly and severally responsible, if the participant has a share of 
the payment greater than zero, with the other Transition Incentive 
Program agreement participants in compliance with the provisions of 
such Transition Incentive Program agreement and the provisions of this 
part and for any payment adjustments that may be required for 
violations of any of the terms or conditions of the Transition 
Incentive Program agreement and this part.

    Signed at Washington, DC, on April 27, 2010.
Jonathan W. Coppess,
Executive Vice President, Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 2010-11595 Filed 5-13-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-05-P