USDA Seeking Public Comments on Conservation Practice Standard Updates

The Department is seeking public comments on 13 updated conservation practice standards, which include standards for dams, canals, and land clearing. Per the 2018 Farm Bill, feedback will be gathered on these and many more practices in the coming months.

Image by tookapic from Pixabay
Image by tookapic from Pixabay

WASHINGTON (October 28, 2019) — The US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking public comments on 13 conservation practice standards. Per direction from the 2018 Farm Bill, NRCS will gather feedback on 94 practices over the coming months through posting on the Federal Register. Comments on these current 13 practice standards are due by Thursday, November 21.

These standards provide guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating, and maintaining conservation practices. The 13 updated conservation practice standards are:

  • Contour Buffer Strips (Code 332)
  • Dam, Diversion (Code 348)
  • Deep Tillage (Code 324)
  • Irrigation and Drainage Tailwater Recovery (Code 447)
  • Irrigation Canal or Lateral (Code 320)
  • Irrigation Ditch Lining (Code 428)
  • Irrigation Field Ditch (Code 388)
  • Irrigation Reservoir (Code 436)
  • Land Clearing (Code 460)
  • Obstruction Removal (Code 500)
  • Surface Roughening (Code 609)
  • Waste Treatment (Code 629)
  • Waterspreading (Code 640)

NRCS helps America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners plan and implement conservation practices to help them meet their business and natural resource needs. Farm Bill-funded programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program help cover the costs for planning and implementing practices.

NRCS enlisted the public’s help and comments on how to improve conservation practice standards back in March of this year. These current updates are based on that valuable feedback and NRCS’s efforts to improve the standards to meet the needs of the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners.

Improvements to the conservation practice standards include expanding and updating the scope for new technology and increasing opportunities to establish or improve on habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects. Revisions also involved formatting and writing style updates to meet current agency requirements and editing text to improve clarity.

Submitting Comments

Copies of the proposed revised standards are available by accessing Docket No. NRCS-2019-0011 through Alternatively, the proposed revised standards can be downloaded or printed from

When submitting comments, please include the volume, date and page number of this issue of the Federal Register. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to and search for docket ID NRCS-2019-0011. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail, or Hand Delivery: Mr. Bill Reck, National Environmental Engineer, Conservation Engineering Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, NRCS, 1400 Independence Avenue, South Building, Room 6136, Washington, D.C. 20250.

NRCS is using comments as part of updating standards. For more information on how NRCS is implementing the Farm Bill, visit NRCS’ Federal Register Notices webpage or


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