U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Jul 18, 2019

§ 12.2 - Definitions.

(a) General. The following definitions shall be applicable for the purposes of this part:

Agricultural commodity means any crop planted and produced by annual tilling of the soil, including tilling by one-trip planters, or sugarcane.

Approved insurance provider means a private insurance company that has been approved and reinsured by FCIC to provide insurance coverage to persons participating in programs authorized by the Federal Crop Insurance Act, as amended (7 U.S.C. 1501-1524).

Best drained condition means the hydrologic conditions with respect to depth, duration, frequency, and timing of soil saturation or inundation resulting from drainage manipulations that occurred prior to December 23, 1985, and that exist during the wet portion of the growing season during normal climatic conditions.

CCC means the Commodity Credit Corporation, a wholly-owned government corporation within USDA organized under the provisions of 15 U.S.C. 714 et seq.

Conservation District (CD) means a subdivision of a State or local government organized pursuant to the applicable law to develop and implement soil and water conservation activities or programs.

Conservation plan means the document that -

(1) Applies to highly erodible cropland;

(2) 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 schedules; and

(3) Is approved by the local soil conservation district in consultation with the local committees established under section 8(b)(5) of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590h(b)(5)) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for purposes of compliance with this part.

Conservation system means a combination of one or more conservation measures or management practices that are -

(1) Based on local resource conditions, available conservation technology, and the standards and guidelines contained in the NRCS field office technical guides (available from NRCS State offices); and

(2) Designed for purposes of this part 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.

Conservation use or set aside means cropland that is designated as conservation-use acreage, set aside, or other similar designation for the purpose of fulfilling provisions under any acreage-limitation or land-diversion program administered by the Secretary of Agriculture requiring that the producer devote a specified acreage to conservation or other non-crop production uses.

Creation of a wetland means the development of the hydrologic, geochemical, and biological components necessary to support and maintain a wetland where a wetland did not previously exist. Any wetland established on a non-hydric soil will be considered a created wetland.

Department means the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Enhancement of a wetland means the alteration of an existing wetland to increase its specific functions and values. Enhancement actions include new capabilities, management options, structures, or other actions to influence one or several functions and values.

Erodibility index means a numerical value that expresses the potential erodibility of a soil in relation to its soil loss tolerance value without consideration of applied conservation practices or management.

FCIC means the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, a wholly owned corporation within USDA whose programs are administered by RMA.

FSA means the Farm Service Agency, an agency of USDA which is generally responsible for administering commodity production adjustment and certain conservation programs of USDA.

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 is not exempt under § 12.5(a), shall be considered part of the field in which the land was included on December 23, 1985, unless, to carry out this title, the owner and FSA agree to modify the boundaries of the field.

Highly erodible land means land that has an erodibility index of 8 or more.

Hydric soils means soils that, in an undrained condition, are saturated, flooded, or ponded long enough during a growing season to develop an anaerobic condition that supports the growth and regeneration of hydrophytic vegetation.

Hydrophytic vegetation means plants growing in water or in a substrate that is at least periodically deficient in oxygen during a growing season as a result of excessive water content.

Landlord means a person who rents or leases farmland to another person.

Local FSA office means the county office of the Farm Service Agency serving the county or a combination of counties in the area in which a person's land is located for administrative purposes.

NIFA means the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of USDA which is generally responsible for coordinating the information and educational programs of USDA.

Normal climatic conditions means the normal range of hydrologic inputs on a site as determined by the bounds provided in the Climate Analysis for Wetlands Tables or methods posted in the Field Office Technical Guide.

NRCS means the Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency within USDA which is generally responsible for providing technical assistance in matters of natural resources conservation and for administering certain conservation programs of USDA.

Operator means the person who is in general control of the farming operations on the farm during the crop year.

Owner means a person who is determined to have legal ownership of farmland and shall include a person who is purchasing farmland under contract.

Person means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, cooperative, estate, trust, joint venture, joint operation, or other business enterprise or other legal entity and, whenever applicable, a State, a political subdivision of a State, or any agency thereof, and such person's affiliates as provided in § 12.8 of this part.

Playa means a usually dry and nearly level lake plain that occupies the lowest parts of closed depressions (basins). Temporary inundation occurs primarily in response to precipitation-runoff events. Playas may or may not be characterized by high water table and saline conditions. They occur primarily in the Southern Great Plains.

Pocosin means a wet area on nearly level interstream divides in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Soils are generally organic but may include some areas of high organic mineral soils.

Pothole means a closed depression, generally circular, elliptical, or linear in shape, occurring in glacial outwash plains, moraines, till plains, and glacial lake plains.

Reinsurance year means a 1-year period beginning July 1 and ending on June 30 of the following year, identified by reference to the year containing June.

Restoration of a wetland means the re-establishment of wetland conditions, including hydrologic condition or native hydrophytic vegetation, to an area where a wetland had previously existed.

RMA means the Risk Management Agency, an agency within USDA that administers the programs of the FCIC through which Federally reinsured crop insurance is provided to American farmers and ranchers.

Secretary means the Secretary of USDA.

Sharecropper means a person who performs work in connection with the production of a crop under the supervision of the operator and who receives a share of such crop for such labor.

Soil map unit means an area of the landscape shown on a soil map which consists of one or more soils.

State means each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands of the United States, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Tenant means a person usually called a “cash tenant”, “fixed-rent tenant”, or “standing rent tenant” who rents land from another for a fixed amount of cash or a fixed amount of a commodity to be paid as rent; or a person (other than a sharecropper) usually called a “share tenant” who rents land from another person and pays as rent a share of the crops or proceeds therefrom. A tenant shall not be considered the farm operator unless the tenant is determined to be the operator pursuant to this part and 7 CFR part 718.

Wetland, except when such term is a part of the term “converted wetland”, means land that -

(1) Has predominance of hydric soils;

(2) Is inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support a prevalence of hydrophytic vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions; and

(3) Under normal circumstances does support a prevalence of such vegetation, except that this term does not include lands in Alaska identified as having a high potential for agricultural development and a predominance of permafrost soils.

Wetland determination means a decision regarding whether or not an area is a wetland, including identification of wetland type and size. A wetland determination may include identification of an area as one of the following types of wetland -

(1) Artificial wetland is an area that was formerly non-wetland, but now meets wetland criteria due to human activities, such as:

(i) An artificial lake or pond created by excavating or diking land that is not a wetland to collect and retain water that is used primarily for livestock, fish production, irrigation, wildlife, fire control, flood control, cranberry growing, or rice production, or as a settling pond; or

(ii) A wetland that is temporarily or incidentally created as a result of adjacent development activity;

(2) Commenced-conversion wetland is a wetland, farmed wetland, farmed-wetland pasture, or a converted wetland on which conversion began, but was not completed, prior to December 23, 1985.

(3) Converted wetland is a wetland that has been drained, dredged, filled, leveled, or otherwise manipulated (including the removal of woody vegetation or any activity that results in impairing or reducing the flow and circulation of water) for the purpose of or to have the effect of making possible the production of an agricultural commodity without further application of the manipulations described herein if:

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

(ii) Before such action such land was wetland, farmed wetland, or farmed-wetland pasture and was neither highly erodible land nor highly erodible cropland;

(4) Farmed wetland is a wetland that prior to December 23, 1985, was manipulated and used to produce an agricultural commodity, and on December 23, 1985, did not support woody vegetation, and met the following hydrologic criteria:

(i) If not a playa, pocosin, or pothole, experienced inundation for 15 consecutive days or more during the growing season or 10 percent of the growing season, whichever is less, in most years (50 percent chance or more), as determined by having met any of the following hydrologic indicators:

(A) Inundation is directly observed during a site visit conducted under a period of normal climatic conditions or drier;

(B) The presence of any indicator from Group B (Evidence of Recent Inundation) of the wetland hydrology indicators contained in the applicable regional supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual is observed;

(C) The presence of conditions resulting from inundation during the growing season is observed on aerial imagery, and the imagery is determined to represent normal or drier than normal climatic conditions (that is, not abnormally wet); or

(D) The use of analytic techniques, such as the use of drainage equations or the evaluation of monitoring data, demonstrate that the wetland would experience inundation during the growing season in most years (50-percent chance or more).

(ii) If a playa, pocosin, or pothole experienced ponding for 7 or more consecutive days during the growing season in most years (50-percent chance of more) or saturation for 14 or more consecutive days during the growing season in most years (50-percent chance or more) as determined by having met any of the following hydrologic indicators:

(A) Inundation or saturation is directly observed during a site visit conducted under a period of normal climatic conditions or drier;

(B) The presence of one primary or two secondary wetland hydrology indicators contained in the applicable regional supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual is observed;

(C) The presence of conditions resulting from inundation or saturation during the growing season is observed on aerial imagery, and the imagery is determined to represent hydrologic conditions that would be expected to occur under normal or drier than normal climatic conditions (that is, not abnormally wet); or

(D) The use of analytic techniques, such as the use of drainage equations or the evaluation of monitoring data, demonstrate that the wetland would experience inundation or saturation during the growing season in most years (50-percent chance or more).

(5) Farmed-wetland pasture is wetland that was manipulated and managed for pasture or hayland prior to December 23, 1985, and on December 23, 1985, experienced inundation or ponding for 7 or more consecutive days during the growing season in most years (50-percent chance or more) or saturation for 14 or more consecutive days during the growing season in most years (50-percent chance or more) as determined by having met any of the following hydrologic indicators:

(i) Inundation or saturation is directly observed during a site visit conducted under a period of normal climatic conditions or drier;

(ii) The presence of one primary or two secondary wetland hydrology indicators contained in the applicable regional supplement to the Corps of Engineers Wetland Delineation Manual is observed;

(iii) The presence of conditions resulting from inundation or saturation during the growing season is observed on aerial imagery, and the imagery is determined to represent hydrologic conditions that would be expected to occur under normal, or drier than normal climatic conditions (that is, not abnormally wet); or

(iv) The use of analytic techniques, such as the use of drainage equations or the evaluation of monitoring data, demonstrate that the wetland would experience inundation or saturation during the growing season in most years (50-percent chance or more).

(6) Not-inventoried land, is an area for which no evaluation of soils, vegetation, or hydrology has been conducted to determine if wetland criteria are met;

(7) Non-wetland is;

(i) Land that under natural conditions does not meet wetland criteria, or

(ii) Is converted wetland the conversion of which occurred prior to December 23, 1985, and on that date, the land did not meet wetland criteria but an agricultural commodity was not produced and the area was not managed for pasture or hay;

(8) Prior-converted cropland is a converted wetland where the conversion occurred prior to December 23, 1985, an agricultural commodity had been produced at least once before December 23, 1985, and as of December 23, 1985, the converted wetland did not support woody vegetation and did not meet the hydrologic criteria for farmed wetland.

(9) Wetland, as defined above in this section.

Wetland delineation means outlining the boundaries of a wetland determination on aerial photography, digital imagery, other graphic representation of the area, or on the land.

Wetland hydrology means inundation or saturation by surface or groundwater during a growing season at a frequency and duration sufficient to support a prevalence of hydrophytic vegetation.

(b) Terms for FSA operations. In the regulations in this part, and in all instructions, forms, and documents in connection therewith, all other words and phrases specifically relating to FSA operations shall, unless required by the subject matter or the specific provisions of this part, have the meanings assigned to them in the regulations at part 718 of this title that govern reconstitutions of farms, allotments, and bases and any subsequent amendment thereto.

[61 FR 47025, Sept. 6, 1996; 61 FR 53491, Oct. 11, 1996; 76 FR 4803, Jan. 27, 2011; 80 FR 22879, Apr. 24, 2015; 83 FR 63050, Dec. 7, 2018]