16 U.S.C. § 3801 - Definitions

Cite as:16 U.S.C. § 3801
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)

(a) For purposes of subchapters I through VIII:

(1) The term "agricultural commodity" means-

(A) any agricultural commodity planted and produced in a State by annual tilling of the soil, including tilling by one-trip planters; or

(B) sugarcane planted and produced in a State.

(2) BEGINNING FARMER OR RANCHER.-The term "beginning farmer or rancher" has the meaning given the term in section 1991(a)(8) of title 7.

(3) CONSERVATION PLAN.-The term "conservation plan" means the document that-

(A) applies to highly erodible cropland;

(B) describes the conservation system applicable to the highly erodible cropland and describes the decisions of the person with respect to location, land use, tillage systems, and conservation treatment measures and schedule; and

(C) is approved by the local soil conservation district, in consultation with the local committees established under section 590h(b)(5) of this title and the Secretary, or by the Secretary.

(4) CONSERVATION SYSTEM.-The term "conservation system" means a combination of 1 or more conservation measures or management practices that-

(A) are based on local resource conditions, available conservation technology, and the standards and guidelines contained in the Natural Resources Conservation Service field office technical guides; and

(B) are designed to achieve, in a cost effective and technically practicable manner, a substantial reduction in soil erosion or a substantial improvement in soil conditions on a field or group of fields containing highly erodible cropland when compared to the level of erosion or soil conditions that existed before the application of the conservation measures and management practices.

(5) The term "conservation district" means any district or unit of State or local government formed under State or territorial law for the express purpose of developing and carrying out a local soil and water conservation program. Such district or unit of government may be referred to as a "conservation district", "soil conservation district", "soil and water conservation district", "resource conservation district", "natural resource district", "land conservation committee", or a similar name.

(6) The term "cost sharing payment" means a payment made by the Secretary to an owner or operator of a farm or ranch containing highly erodible cropland under the provisions of section 3834(b) of this title.


(A) The term "converted wetland" means wetland that has been drained, dredged, filled, leveled, or otherwise manipulated (including any activity that results in impairing or reducing the flow, circulation, or reach of water) for the purpose or to have the effect of making the production of an agricultural commodity possible if-

(i) such production would not have been possible but for such action; and

(ii) before such action-

(I) such land was wetland; and

(II) such land was neither highly erodible land nor highly erodible cropland.

(B) Wetland shall not be considered converted wetland if production of an agricultural commodity on such land during a crop year-

(i) is possible as a result of a natural condition, such as drought; and

(ii) is not assisted by an action of the producer that destroys natural wetland characteristics.

(8) FARM.-The term "farm" means a farm that-

(A) is under the general control of one operator;

(B) has one or more owners;

(C) consists of one or more tracts of land, whether or not contiguous;

(D) is located within a county or region, as determined by the Secretary; and

(E) may contain lands that are incidental to the production of perennial crops, including conserving uses, forestry, and livestock, as determined by the Secretary.

(9) FIELD.-The term "field" means a part of a farm that is separated from the balance of the farm by permanent boundaries such as fences, roads, permanent waterways, or other similar features. At the option of the owner or operator of the farm, croplines may also be used to delineate a field if farming practices make it probable that the croplines are not subject to change. Any highly erodible land on which an agricultural commodity is produced after December 23, 1985, and that is not exempt under section 3812 of this title, shall be considered as part of the field in which the land was included on December 23, 1985, unless the owner and Secretary agree to modification of the boundaries of the field to carry out this chapter.

(10) The term "highly erodible cropland" means highly erodible land that is in cropland use, as determined by the Secretary.


(A) The term "highly erodible land" means land-

(i) that is classified by the Soil Conservation Service as class IV, VI, VII, or VIII land under the land capability classification system in effect on December 23, 1985; or

(ii) that has, or that if used to produce an agricultural commodity, would have an excessive average annual rate of erosion in relation to the soil loss tolerance level, as established by the Secretary, and as determined by the Secretary through application of factors from the universal soil loss equation and the wind erosion equation, including factors for climate, soil erodibility, and field slope.

(B) For purposes of this paragraph, the land capability class or rate of erosion for a field shall be that determined by the Secretary to be the predominant class or rate of erosion under regulations issued by the Secretary.

(C) EQUATIONS.-Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this subparagraph, the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register the universal soil loss equation and wind erosion equation used by the Department of Agriculture as of that date. The Secretary may not change the equations after that date except following notice and comment in a manner consistent with section 553 of title 5.

(12) The term "hydric soil" means soil that, in its undrained condition, is saturated, flooded, or ponded long enough during a growing season to develop an anaerobic condition that supports the growth and regeneration of hydrophytic vegetation.

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