Commission Proposes Changes to Conservation Cost-Share Program
The Oklahoma Conservation Commission has officially opened the rule-making record to make changes to the Locally Led Cost-Share Program rule cited as 155:20-1-5 in the Oklahoma Administrative Code.
The Conservation Program Division of the Conservation Commission administers the Conservation Cost-Share Program. Funds are allocated to conservation districts based upon appropriations from the Oklahoma Legislature. The Cost-Share Program provides financial assistance to landowners to apply soil and water conservation practices on their land. The purpose of the program is to help improve water quality and control soil erosion in the state. Conservation districts administer the program to meet their local needs.
The proposed changes to the program have come at the urging of urban conservation districts who suggest eliminating some restrictions will allow the cost-share program to better assist urban/suburban landowners with natural resource issues. There are three changes proposed:
- Currently: Only landowners with 20 or more acres are eligible.
- Proposed Change: Eliminate the 20 acre restriction. This will allow small acreage “farmer market” producers and any landowner with natural resource issues to be eligible for the cost share program.
- Currently: Only landowners who sell $1,000 or more of soil dependent products annually are eligible
- Proposed Change: Eliminate the $1,000 restriction to allow urban/suburban natural resource issues to be addressed. Examples of such issues are cedar eradication, fire risk management, erosion & sediment control.
- Currently: Conservation districts decide the practices, average cost per practice, cost share rate and maximum payment per participant, all within the guidelines provided by OCC.
- Proposed Change: Also allow conservation districts to identify ineligible land within their district boundaries.
This proposed rule change, if adopted, will not apply to the Locally Led Cost Share Program Years 14 or 15 that are currently underway.
The comment period is November 1, 2013 through December 11, 2013.
Comments on the proposed rule change can be delivered, mailed or emailed to:
2800 North Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 160
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4210
Telephone: (405) 742-1240
A public hearing is scheduled for 10:00 am on December 11, 2013, in the Board Room of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry located at 2800 North Lincoln Boulevard, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105, for those who wish to deliver their comments in person.
Go to the Rules and Rulemaking page to read the Notice of Rule Making Intent and full text of proposed rules.