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NFC: Fw: May 23 MN Public Meeting on USDA Conservation Program
I wanted to be sure you knew about this upcoming meeting in Moorehead, MN
for public input on a key USDA conservation program.
USDA is holding a series of public meetings as the agency prepares and
accepts comments on a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS)
the Conservation Reserve Program and the Emergency Conservation Program.
The meetings will also focus on two subprograms with CRP -- the
Enrollment program and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program -- as
well as the new Grasslands Reserve Program. These programs have been very
successful in many areas in protecting and improving water quality and
The new 2002 Farm Bill raised the cap on the CRP to 39.2 million acres
36.4 million acres.
It would be great if you could attend the meeting to be held in
MN on May 23 from 7-9pm. I would be happy to share with you some talking
points about key issues we have developed.
The meetings will be held on the following dates in these locations:
May 7, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Chesapeake College Auditorium; 1000 College
Drive; Wye Mills, Maryland 21679
May 9, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Mobile County Cooperative Extension
1070 Schiller Road North; Mobile, Alabama 36608
May 14, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Ambassador Hotel; 3100 I-40 West; Amarillo,
May 16, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Mt. Hood Community College; 2600 SE Stark
Portland, Oregon 90730
May 21, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Holiday Inn; 200 McDonald Dr.; Lawrence,
May 23, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Northwest Technical College; 1900 28th Ave.
Moorehead, Minnesota 56560
Agriculture Policy Analyst and Organizer
202-387-3500 x3376 sfriedman at environmentaldefense_org
Agriculture Reform Campaign Website -- www.privatelandstewardship.org
Please find attached the Federal Register Notice of Intent to prepare a
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the Conservation
Reserve Program (CRP) and the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP).
information on these progams can be found as links in the attached
documents. This notice anounces public scoping meetings locations, times
and dates and has additional details, not included in the recent press
Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the public is a
participant in the decision making process for Federal actions that
significantly affect the human environment. Scoping is the process
agencies actively engage the public's participation in determining the
scope of issues and impacts to be addressed in an EIS. The upcoming FSA
scoping meetings are being held to give the public an opportunity to
their ideas, issues, and concerns about FSA implementation of the CRP and
ECP. The public may also submit comments by mail, phone, and e-mail. FSA
will welcome constructive and meaningful ideas and suggestions at these
This notice discusses some of the potential alternatives that FSA has
developed as part of our interdisciplinary and interagency internal
eetings. These will be further refined and focused after the public
eetings. FSA will factor the public's ideas, issues, and concerns into
process of shaping meaningful and reasonable program alternatives to be
analyzed in the PEIS.
Please disseminate this document, as appropriate, to any interested
colleagues, farmers or groups that you have contact with.
For those having problems opening attachments, the entire text of this
Notice of Intent is included below. Thanks for your help and continued
interest and support in this effort. If you have further questions or
concerns please contact:
Don Steck, Environmental Protection Specialist
Conservation and Environmental Programs Division
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250-0513
E-mail: don_steck at wdc_usda.gov
The Farmable Wetlands Pilot Program(FWP) and the Grassland Reserve
will be included in the public scoping meetings for the Programmatic
Environmental Impact Statement for CRP and ECP. Please add these two
programs to any information you have passed on to your contacts. Thanks
your help in getting the word out.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Commodity Credit Corporation
Farm Service Agency
Notice of Intent To Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact
Statement for the Conservation Reserve Program, Conservation Reserve
Enhancement Program and the Emergency Conservation Program and Hold
Public Scoping Meetings
AGENCY: Commodity Credit Corporation; Farm Service Agency, USDA.
ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact
SUMMARY: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announces its intention
to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for the
Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Emergency Conservation Program
(ECP). The Draft PEIS will assess the potential environmental impacts
of alternatives for administration of the CRP and ECP. Under the CRP,
the PEIS will address general sign-up, continuous sign-up, and the
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).
The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administers these programs on
behalf of the CCC and is now conducting a comprehensive review of them.
New regulations may be needed to implement new farm legislation. Also,
the PEIS can help review current policies and achievements. FSA hopes
to analyze a range of CRP/CREP and ECP program alternatives. The Draft
PEIS also provides a means for the public to have opportunities to
voice any concerns they may have about the programs, and any ideas for
improving them. This Notice of Intent informs the public of the
proposal, announces the dates, times, and places for public scoping
meetings, solicits public comment, and describes in general the
preliminary Draft PEIS proposed action and alternatives.
DATES: To ensure that the full range of issues and alternatives related
to the CRP/CREP and ECP are addressed, FSA invites comments on the
scope of this proposed Draft PEIS. Comments should be submitted by
close of business on May 30, 2002, to ensure consideration. Comments
submitted after this date will be considered to the extent possible.
See the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for the public scoping
meeting dates and locations.
ADDRESSES: Written comments on the scope of the draft PEIS and requests
for copies of draft PEIS information packages should be directed to CRP
PEIS, Post Office Box 6830, Falls Church, Virginia 22046, CRP at mangi_com
or telephone (toll free) 1-877-271-3842. See the SUPPLEMENTARY
INFORMATION section for public scoping meetings dates and locations.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Steck, USDA/FSA/CEPD/Stop 0513,
1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250-0513, (202) 690-0224,
or e-mail at: don_steck at wdc_usda.gov or CRP at mangi_com. More detailed
information on these programs may also be obtained from the FSA
Worldwide Web site at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/default.asp
(general); http://www.fsa.usda.gov/dafp/cepd/default.htm (CRP, CREP and
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The PEIS being prepared on the CRP and ECP
will seek to provide FSA decision makers and the public with an
analysis that evaluates program effects in many appropriate contexts,
describes the intensity of adverse as well as beneficial impacts, and
addresses cumulative impacts of the programs being analyzed.
The Food Security Act of 1985, as amended (16 U.S.C. 3831-3836),
authorizes the CRP. The program is also governed by the regulations
published in 7 CFR part 1410. The CRP is administered by the CCC
through the FSA. The purpose of the CRP is to cost-effectively assist
farm owners and operators in conserving and improving soil, water, air
and wildlife resources. This is accomplished by converting highly-
erodible and other environmentally-sensitive acreage normally devoted
to the production of agricultural commodities to a long-term resource-
conserving cover. CRP participants enter into contracts for 10-15 years
in exchange for annual rental payments, cost-share and technical
assistance for implementing approved conservation practices.
The CREP is a joint, State/Tribal/Federal land retirement
conservation program under the CRP that is targeted to address State,
tribal, and nationally significant agriculture-related environmental
effects. The primary objectives of CREP are to coordinate Federal and
non-federal resources to address specific conservation objectives of a
State or tribe and the nation in a cost-effective manner, and to
improve water quality, air quality, erosion control, and wildlife
habitat related to agricultural use in specific geographic areas.
Title IV of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978, as amended (16
U.S.C. 2201-2205) authorized the ECP, which provides emergency funding
for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by wind
erosion, floods, hurricanes, or other natural disasters, and for
carrying out emergency water conservation measures during periods of
severe drought. Conservation problems existing prior to the disaster
involved are not eligible for cost-sharing assistance. ECP is
administered by the Farm Service Agency State and county committees.
The Draft PEIS will help to review potential environmental impacts
resulting from these programs and the results will be used in
implementing and approving projects for CRP/CREP and ECP funding. The
Record of Decision resulting from the final PEIS will serve as guidance
to FSA staff. The Draft PEIS will likely use scenarios to evaluate the
environmental and socioeconomic impacts of CRP/CREP and ECP
conservation practices in relation to their effectiveness in achieving
environmental goals and minimizing any attendant potentially adverse
effects. In parallel with preparation of the draft PEIS, FSA will
revise the administrative rules for the CRP/CREP and ECP and
incorporate any changes that may result from the new Farm Bill.
The public is urged to participate in helping to define the scope
proposed Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. In addition to
allowing the opportunity to comment via a toll-free telephone line,
mail, and e-mail at the addresses listed previously, FSA plans to hold
six public scoping meetings to provide information and opportunities
for discussing the issues and alternatives to be covered in the Draft
PEIS and to receive oral and written comments. Each scoping meeting
will be conducted in the evening, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., to allow
the greatest opportunity for public input.
The meetings will be held on the following dates in these
May 7, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Chesapeake College Auditorium; 1000
College Drive; Wye Mills, Maryland 21679
May 9, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Mobile County Cooperative Extension
Auditorium; 1070 Schiller Road North; Mobile, Alabama 36608
May 14, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Ambassador Hotel; 3100 I-40 West;
Amarillo, Texas 79102
May 16, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Mt. Hood Community College; 2600 SE
Stark St.; Portland, Oregon 90730
May 21, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Holiday Inn; 200 McDonald Dr.;
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
May 23, 2002 7-9 p.m.; Northwest Technical College; 1900
28th Ave. S; Moorehead, Minnesota 56560
Description of Preliminary PEIS Alternatives
FSA has developed a set of preliminary alternatives to be studied
in the draft PEIS to initiate the process. This is not a final list of
alternatives. The alternatives will be amended, as appropriate, based
on input by the public and agencies during the public scoping process.
New Farm Bill changes
The proposed action is for FSA to implement changes in CRP/CREP
administration based on the requirements of new farm legislation should
the current Farm Bill under consideration produce new provisions
dealing with these programs. Some of the changes being considered in
Congress currently include increasing the enrollment cap for CRP/CREP
acreage and changing the eligibility and cropping history requirements.
No Program (baseline)
This alternative would be used as an analytical device to establish
a baseline upon which to evaluate the other alternatives.
No Action (Current program)
To continue FSA administration of the CRP/CREP as they are now
carried out. Under this alternative, FSA will continue administration
of the CRP/CREP with no substantive changes.
Under this alternative FSA would alter the mix of program goals and
change acreage allocations to CREP, continuous sign-up and general CRP.
The proposed action would provide for consolidation of possible
program changes including changes to allow for a consistent cost-share
rate, do away with the tiered level of cost sharing currently in use,
and provide for a higher level of cost share for limited resource
Under this alternative, ECP would continue as currently
administered with no substantive changes.
This program would be used as an analytical device to establish a
baseline upon which to evaluate the other alternative.
Signed in Washington, DC, on April 22, 2002.
James R. Little,
Administrator, Farm Service Agency, and Executive Vice President,
Commodity Credit Corporation.
[FR Doc. 02-10165 Filed 4-22-02; 12:45 pm]
BILLING CODE 3410-05-P
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