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NRCS Seeks Public Comment on 8 Conservation Practices
Indiana Ag Connection - 02/08/2024

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to eight national conservation practice standards. Comments are due March 4, 2024.

Proposed revisions to the national conservation practice standards include:

Field Border (Code 386): Revised the “Purpose” section to maintain consistency with the current resource concerns. Clarified the wording and formatting to increase readability of the “General Criteria” section and added text to the “Introduction in the Plans and Specifications” section.

Filter Strip (Code 393): Revised the definition to indicate the location of the filter strip. Revised the “Purpose” section to improve clarity and readability, added text to the “General Criteria” section to locate the filter strip downslope from a source area of contaminants and added a vegetation section. Added both criteria for flow lengths based on Agronomy Technical Note No. 2, and new content to specify burning frequency. Revised the “Irrigation Tailwater and Excessive Sediment in Surface Waters” section to clarify the plant stem spacing.

Grazing Management (Code 528): Changed the title to “Grazing Management” to eliminate confusion, promote a sense of adaptability, and better convey the intended purpose. Revised the “Purpose” section to add the purpose to reduce plant pest pressure and to create two new purposes from one existing purpose, one addressing soil erosion and the other addressing soil health related resource concerns. Revised the “General Criteria” section to include provisions to build resilience and resistance to climate‐related disturbances.

Added text to clarify that the standard is intended to be used for managing vegetation using herbivores. Added a new statement to the “Plans and Specifications” section referring to the National Range and Pasture Manual and clarified that contingency plans need to consider if weather events may be intensified due to climate change. Revised the “References” section.

Hedgerow Planting (Code 422): Combined purposes to reduce the numbers from 10 to 5. Pollinator, terrestrial wildlife, and aquatic wildlife purposes were consolidated to a single wildlife purpose. The purposes intercepting airborne particulates, reducing chemical drift and odor movement were combined as a filtering section purpose. Screens and barriers to noise and dust were changed to a barrier section purpose which also includes living fences. Boundary delineation and contour guidelines were removed as a purpose but retained as a consideration.

Mulching (Code 484): Clarified wording and formatting to increase readability. Deleted “Maintain or increase organic matter content.” Added “non‐biodegradable” to synthetic mulches in the “General Criteria” section. Revised the “Moisture Management Additional Criteria” title to “Additional Criteria to Improve the Efficiency of Rain-fed Moisture Management, to Improve Irrigation Energy Efficiency, or to Improve the Efficient Use of Irrigation Water.” Added paragraph on materials to moderate soil temperature to the “Additional Criteria to Improve Plant Productivity and Health” section.







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