State Technical Committees
Section 1261 of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended (the 1985 Act), requires the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) to establish a technical committee in each State to assist the Secretary in the considerations relating to implementation and technical aspects of the conservation programs authorized under the 1985 Act. Section 1262 of the 1985 Act describes the responsibilities of the State Technical Committees to work with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in an advisory capacity. Part 610, Subpart C of title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations contains the current regulations for State Technical Committees. Section 2711 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Act) amended Sections 1261 and 1262 of the 1985 Act to expand agricultural and forestry involvement on the committees, expand the committees' authority related to reviewing Local Working Groups' efforts to address State program priorities, and require the Secretary to standardize committee operations. Section 246(f)(3) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 exempted State Technical Committees from the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The 2008 Act clarifies that the Local Working Groups shall be considered a subcommittee of the applicable State Technical Committee for the purposes of this exemption. This interim final rule adopts these changes.