The Secretary is hereby authorized and directed to develop in cooperation with and participation by the public through conservation districts, State, tribal, and national organizations and agencies, and other appropriate means, a national soil and water conservation program (hereinafter called the “program”) to be used as a guide in carrying out the activities of the Secretary which assist landowners and land users, at their request, in furthering soil and water conservation on the private, tribal, and non-Federal lands of the Nation. The program shall set forth direction for future soil and water conservation efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture based on the current soil, water, and related resource appraisal developed in accordance with section 2004 of this title
, taking into consideration both the long- and short-term needs of the Nation, the landowners, and the land users, and the roles and responsibilities of Federal, State, tribal, and local governments in such conservation efforts. The program shall also include but not be limited to—
analysis of the Nation’s soil, water, and related resource problems;
analysis of existing Federal, State, tribal, and local government authorities and adjustments needed;
an evaluation of the effectiveness of the soil and water conservation ongoing programs and the overall progress being achieved by Federal, State, tribal, and local programs and the landowners and land users in meeting the soil and water conservation objectives of this chapter;
identification and evaluation of alternative methods for the conservation, protection, environmental improvement, and enhancement of soil and water resources, in the context of alternative time frames, and a recommendation of the preferred alternatives and the extent to which they are being implemented;
investigation and analysis of the practicability, desirability, and feasibility of collecting organic waste materials, including manure, crop and food wastes, industrial organic waste, municipal sewage sludge, logging and wood-manufacturing residues, and any other organic refuse, composting, or similarly treating such materials, transporting and placing such materials onto the land to improve soil tilth and fertility. The analysis shall include the projected cost of such collection, transportation, and placement in accordance with sound locally approved soil and water conservation practices;
analysis of the Federal and non-Federal inputs required to implement the program;
analysis of costs and benefits of alternative soil and water conservation practices; and
investigation and analysis of alternative irrigation techniques regarding their costs, benefits, and impact on soil and water conservation, crop production, and environmental factors.
Evaluation of existing conservation programs
In evaluating existing conservation programs, the Secretary shall emphasize demonstration, innovation, and monitoring of specific program components in order to encourage further development and adoption of practices and performance-based standards.
Improvement to program
In developing a national soil and water conservation program under subsection (a), the Secretary shall solicit and evaluate recommendations for improving the program, including the content, scope, process, participation in, and other elements of the program, as determined by the Secretary.
[Pub. L. 95–192, § 6], Nov. 18, 1977, [91 Stat. 1409]; [Pub. L. 99–198, title XII, § 1252(b)], Dec. 23, 1985, [99 Stat. 1516]; [Pub. L. 103–354, title II, § 246(f)(2)(C)], Oct. 13, 1994, [108 Stat. 3225]; [Pub. L. 110–234, title II, § 2804(c)], May 22, 2008, [122 Stat. 1087]; [Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a)], title II, § 2804(c), June 18, 2008, [122 Stat. 1664], 1815; [Pub. L. 113–79, title II, § 2508(c)], Feb. 7, 2014, [128 Stat. 756]; [Pub. L. 115–334, title II, § 2402(2)], Dec. 20, 2018, [132 Stat. 4571].)