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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Apr 28, 1977.
Critical Lands Resource Conservation Act - Authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to enter into agreements, for two years initially and thereafter annually renewable, with owners and operators of land in the Great Plains area to promote conservation of soil and water resources through conversion of cropland from soil depleting uses to conserving uses including the production of soil conserving cover crops. Requires an owner or operator, among other things: (1) to devote to a soil conserving cover crop up to 50 percent of a farm's cropland acreage which had been planted with soil depleting crops in any of the two years preceding; (2) to plant a legume, or an annual, biennial, or a perennial cover crop; (3) to divert from production a designated portion of one or more crops; (4) not to harvest any crop from or graze the designated acreage, unless the Secretary determines otherwise in order to alleviate disaster-caused distress; (5) to give assurance that the land was not acquired in order to put it in this program; (6) to forfeit all rights to further payments and to refund past payments upon violation of the agreement, or upon transfer of right and interest in the farm unless the transferee assumes all obligations; and (7) not to adopt any practice which would tend to defeat the purposes of the agreement. Requires the Secretary in consideration of such agreement to pay to the owner or operator an annual adjustment payment at a rate not in excess of $30 per acre. Directs the Secretary to use the services of local, county, and State committees and the technical services of the Soil Conservation Service and soil and water conservation districts. Requires adequate safeguards to protect interests of tenants and sharecroppers for sharing annual adjustment payments. Authorizes the Secretary to use the facilities, services, and authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation in discharging the responsibilities of this program, including payment of costs of administration.