United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jan 29, 2023

§ 3832.
Duties of owners and operators
(a)
In general
Under the terms of a contract entered into under this subpart, during the term of the contract, an owner or operator of a farm or ranch shall agree—
(1)
to implement a plan approved by the local conservation district (or in an area not located within a conservation district, a plan approved by the Secretary) for converting eligible land normally devoted to the production of an agricultural commodity on the farm or ranch to a less intensive use (as defined by the Secretary), such as pasture, permanent grass, legumes, forbs, shrubs, or trees, substantially in accordance with a schedule outlined in the plan;
(2)
to place highly erodible cropland subject to the contract in the conservation reserve established under this subpart;
(3)
not to use the land for agricultural purposes, except as permitted by the Secretary;
(4)
to establish approved vegetative cover (which may include emerging vegetation in water), water cover for the enhancement of wildlife, or, where practicable, maintain existing cover on the land, except that—
(A)
the water cover shall not include ponds for the purpose of watering livestock, irrigating crops, or raising fish for commercial purposes; and
(B)
the Secretary shall not terminate the contract for failure to establish approved vegetative or water cover on the land if—
(i)
the failure to plant the cover was due to excessive rainfall or flooding;
(ii)
the land subject to the contract that could practicably be planted to the cover is planted to the cover; and
(iii)
the land on which the owner or operator was unable to plant the cover is planted to the cover after the wet conditions that prevented the planting subsides;
(5)
to undertake management on the land as needed throughout the term of the contract to implement the conservation plan;
(6)
on a violation of a term or condition of the contract at any time the owner or operator has control of the land—
(A)
to forfeit all rights to receive rental payments and cost sharing payments under the contract and to refund to the Secretary any rental payments and cost sharing payments received by the owner or operator under the contract, together with interest on the payments as determined by the Secretary, if the Secretary, after considering the recommendations of the soil conservation district and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, determines that the violation is of such nature as to warrant termination of the contract; or
(B)
to refund to the Secretary, or accept adjustments to, the rental payments and cost sharing payments provided to the owner or operator, as the Secretary considers appropriate, if the Secretary determines that the violation does not warrant termination of the contract;
(7)
on the transfer of the right and interest of the owner or operator in land subject to the contract—
(A)
to forfeit all rights to rental payments and cost sharing payments under the contract; and
(B)
to refund to the United States all rental payments and cost sharing payments received by the owner or operator, or accept such payment adjustments or make such refunds as the Secretary considers appropriate and consistent with the objectives of this subpart;
unless the transferee of the land agrees with the Secretary to assume all obligations of the contract, except that no refund of rental payments and cost sharing payments shall be required if the land is purchased by or for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, or the transferee and the Secretary agree to modifications to the contract, in a case in which the modifications are consistent with the objectives of the program, as determined by the Secretary;
(8)
not to conduct any harvesting or grazing, nor otherwise make commercial use of the forage, on land that is subject to the contract, nor adopt any similar practice specified in the contract by the Secretary as a practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of the contract, except as provided in subsection (b) or (c) of section 3833 of this title;
(9)
not to conduct any planting of trees on land that is subject to the contract unless the contract specifies that the harvesting and commercial sale of trees such as Christmas trees are prohibited, nor otherwise make commercial use of trees on land that is subject to the contract unless it is expressly permitted in the contract, nor adopt any similar practice specified in the contract by the Secretary as a practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of the contract, except that no contract shall prohibit activities consistent with customary forestry practice, such as pruning, thinning, or stand improvement of trees, on land converted to forestry use;
(10)
on land devoted to hardwood or other trees, excluding windbreaks and shelterbelts, to carry out proper thinning and other practices—
(A)
to enhance the conservation benefits and wildlife habitat resources addressed by the conservation practice under which the land is enrolled; and
(B)
to promote forest management;
(11)
not to adopt any practice specified by the Secretary in the contract as a practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of this subpart; and
(12)
to comply with such additional provisions as the Secretary determines are desirable and are included in the contract to carry out this subpart or to facilitate the practical administration of this subpart.
(b)
Conservation plans
The plan referred to in subsection (a)(1) shall set forth—
(1)
the conservation measures and practices to be carried out by the owner or operator during the term of the contract; and
(2)
the commercial use, if any, to be permitted on the land during the term.
(c)
Foreclosure
(1)
In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an owner or operator who is a party to a contract entered into under this subpart may not be required to make repayments to the Secretary of amounts received under the contract if the land that is subject to the contract has been foreclosed on and the Secretary determines that forgiving the repayments is appropriate in order to provide fair and equitable treatment.

(2)
Resumption of control
(A)
In general

This subsection shall not void the responsibilities of an owner or operator under the contract if the owner or operator resumes control over the land that is subject to the contract within the period specified in the contract.

(B)
Contract

On the resumption of the control over the land by the owner or operator, the provisions of the contract in effect on the date of the foreclosure shall apply.

(Pub. L. 99–198, title XII, § 1232, as added Pub. L. 107–171, title II, § 2101(a), May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 242; amended Pub. L. 108–7, div. N, title II, § 212, Feb. 20, 2003, 117 Stat. 545; Pub. L. 110–234, title II, §§ 2107, 2108, May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1032, 1033; Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title II, §§ 2107, 2108, June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 1760, 1761; Pub. L. 113–79, title II, § 2003, Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 715; Pub. L. 115–334, title II, § 2205, Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4543.)
cite as: 16 USC 3832