Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative and Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the availability of financial assistance funds in fiscal year (FY) 2011 for up to $15 million in the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) and up to $25 million in the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI). These funding levels are available for new MRBI proposals only. However, CCPI and WREP will not be the only funding mechanisms for MRBI in FY 2011. The Chief of NRCS reserves discretion in utilizing other NRCS conservation program funds and mechanisms in support of the objectives of MRBI. Through agreements, partners and NRCS will provide assistance to eligible participants in the 43 designated focus areas (8-digit HUCs) in the following 13 States: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The purpose of this notice is to solicit proposals from potential partners to enter into agreements with NRCS and to inform agricultural producers and landowners of the future availability of program funds through approved partnership projects. Proposals must be based on one or more 12-digit HUCs within the 43 designated focus areas. Partners who are currently involved in approved MRBI agreements through CCPI or WREP and want to work in other 12-digit watersheds must submit new proposals for a new project.
Grassland Reserve Program
The Department of Agriculture (USDA), through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) published in the Federal Register on January 21, 2009, an interim final rule for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) with a 60-day public comment period. On August 21, 2009, the CCC published an amendment to the interim final rule and reopened the public comment period for an additional 60 days. The CCC is publishing a final rule that incorporates the changes associated with passage of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Act) and addresses the comments received during the public comment periods.
Commodity Assessments; Loans, Purchases, and Other Operations
The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) is amending regulations as required by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (the 2008 Farm Bill) to remove a provision concerning CCC fees for administrative costs to collect commodity assessments. The 2008 Farm Bill prohibits CCC from collecting these fees. As a result of this amendment, CCC, rather than States or commodity associations, will absorb the administrative costs of implementing and modifying commodity assessment collections.