Farm Bill Conservation Programs Under An Expired Farm Bill

Since Congress did not pass an extension of the current Farm Bill when it expired at midnight on September 30th, some programs have expired and/or run out of funding. Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was funded through 2019 via previous appropriations. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has spoken to Jimmy Bramblett, the Deputy Chief for Programs at NRCS to get a better idea on the details of other conservation programs and funding.

NRCS has limited contract renewals to uncontroversial programs that are not the subject of Farm Bill conference negotiations. Funding for these contract renewals came from a funding extension put in place last year. The extension applies only to EQIP contracts.

The following NRCS programs are impacted as follows since the current Farm Bill has expired:

Conservation Stewardship Program

There will be no funding for new acres after September 30, 2018. Payments will be made on acres enrolled or reenrolled by October 1, 2018. The Adjusted Gross Income limitation still applies

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

The program is authorized and funded through the end of FY2019, though the payment limits will expire. NRCS is evaluating options for addressing the payment limit expiration. The Adjusted Gross Income limitation still applies

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

The authority for the program does not expire with the Farm Bill, though there is no new funding. NRCS will be able to use carryover funds to enter into new agreements.

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Existing projects will continue, but the agency will not be authorized to enter into new agreements. There may be limitations related to future CSP contracts under existing agreements.

Source: Allison Rivera, Executive Director, Government Affairs, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association