Department of Agriculture

Simplify Conservation Contracts

Farm Bill Conservation Program Contracts have become increasingly difficult to administer with current contracting rules and software. Move towards a contracting system that allows for greater schedule flexibility for the participant. Currently contracts must be routinely modified and rescheduled with changes in the plan of operations. Put in place a contract system that allows for allocation of funds for conservation practices to be completed in a 3-4 year time frame, without having items tied to specific years. This way the contract holder has flexibility to implement the practices and employees are not burdened with numerous contract reviews, auditing follow-ups, and rescheduling modifications. This has become a major part of field office workload that is an unneccessary waste of resources. Annual contract reviews could still be used to keep projects on track. If the allocated funds are not used in the contract time-span, funds for the contract will be lost. Ideally, these funds could then be made available to fund the current year's conservation contracts, rather than being trapped in the obligating year's budget.

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Idea No. 668