Biomass Crop Assistance Program
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is amending the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) regulations to implement changes required by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill). BCAP provides financial assistance to producers who establish, collect, harvest, store, and transport biomass crops. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorizes BCAP, with certain changes that are implemented in this rule. The changes include reducing the payment rate per ton for collection, harvest, storage, and transportation of eligible materials, and limiting the cost share per acre for establishment of biomass crops. The requirements for eligible material and eligible land are revised in this rule, as required by the 2014 Farm Bill. The general scope of BCAP is not changing with this rule.
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
The Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Act) consolidates the purposes of the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) into one easement program called the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). ACEP restores, protects, and enhances wetland on eligible land; protects the agricultural use, viability, and related conservation values of eligible land by limiting non-agricultural uses of that land; and protects grazing uses and related conservation values by restoring and conserving eligible land. This interim rule with request for comments sets forth the policies and procedures related to implementation of ACEP as authorized by the 2014 Act. Since the Conservation Farm Option (CFO) is a repealed program that was never implemented, NRCS is replacing the CFO regulations at 7 CFR part 1468 with the regulations necessary to implement ACEP.