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USDA/NRCS RIN: 0578-AA57 Publication ID: Spring 2011 
Title: ●Equitable Relief From Ineligibility Final Rule Amendment 
Abstract: Section 1613 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 Authorized the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide equitable relief from program ineligibility to participants in covered programs. This authority was effective May 12, 2002. NRCS published a final rule (69 FR 56345) on September 21, 2004, to implement the equitable relief provisions. In order for a participant to obtain equitable relief, NRCS, at 7 CFR 635.7 (b), provided that: "[P]articipants may request equitable relief from the Chief or the State Conservationist with respect to: (1) Reliance on the actions or advice of an authorized NRCS representative; or (2) Failure to fully comply with the program requirements but made a good faith effort to comply." The final rule made no distinction between the two bases for relief in providing regulatory guidance for obtaining such relief. NRCS is amending part of the equitable relief application procedure in 7 CFR 635.7 based on feedback received from participants and NRCS employees over the course of implementing equitable relief since rule publication in 2004. Participants were being required to initiate the request for equitable relief when the source of the violation or ineligibility was NRCS' erroneous advice or action even when the State Conservationist was fully aware of this fact. Participants and employees commented that NRCS was creating an additional burden by mandating that only a participant could request relief when an NRCS employee had provided incorrect information or actions detrimentally relied upon by a participant. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Substantive, Nonsignificant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 635    7 CFR 11    PL 107-171     (To search for a specific CFR, visit the Code of Federal Regulations.)
Legal Authority: 7 USC 7996   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
Final Rule Amendment  06/00/2011    
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Ed Nilson
National Appeals and Equitable Relief Specialist
Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
NRCS - GWCC, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Room 1-1116D,
Beltsville, MD 20705
Phone:301 504-1301

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