Section .0100 - Agriculture Cost Share Program

Link to law: http://reports.oah.state.nc.us/ncac/title 02 - agriculture and consumer services/chapter 59 - soil and water conservation commission/subchapter d/subchapter d rules.html
Published: 2015

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SUBCHAPTER 59D ‑ AGRICULTURE COST SHARE PROGRAM FOR

NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION CONTROL

 

SECTION .0100 - AGRICULTURE COST SHARE PROGRAM

 

02 NCAC 59D .0101          PURPOSE

This Subchapter describes the operating procedures for the

division under the guidance of the commission implementing the Agriculture Cost

Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control.  Procedures and guidelines

for participating districts are also described.  The purpose of the voluntary

program is to reduce the delivery of agricultural nonpoint source (NPS)

pollution into the water courses of the state.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-840; 106-850; 139‑4;



Eff. May 1, 1987;

Recodified from 15A NCAC 6E .0001 Eff. December 20, 1996;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0101 Eff. May 1, 2012.

02 NCAC 59D .0102          DEFINITIONS FOR

SUBCHAPTER 59d

In addition to the definitions found in G.S. 143-215.74, the

following terms used in this Subchapter have the following meanings:

(1)           Agriculture Nonpoint Source (NPS) Pollution

means pollution originating from a diffuse source as a result of agricultural

activities related to crop production, production and management of poultry and

livestock, land application of waste materials, and management of forestland

incidental to agricultural production.

(2)           Allocation means the annual share of the

state's appropriation to participating districts.

(3)           Applicant means a person(s) who applies for

best management practice cost sharing monies from the district.  An applicant

may also be referred to as a cooperator.  All entities, with which the

applicant is associated, including those in other counties, shall be considered

the same applicant.

(4)           Average Costs means the calculated cost,

determined by averaging actual costs and current cost estimates necessary for

best management practice implementation.  Actual costs include labor, supplies,

and other direct costs required for physical installation of a practice.

(5)           Best Management Practice (BMP) means a

structural or nonstructural management based practice used singularly or in

combination to reduce nonpoint source inputs to receiving waters.

(6)           Conservation Plan of Operation (CPO) means

a written plan scheduling the applicant's decisions concerning land use, and

both cost shared and non‑cost shared BMPs to be installed and maintained

on the operating unit.

(7)           Cost Share Agreement means an annual or

long term agreement between the applicant and the district which defines the

BMPs to be cost shared, rate and amount of payment, minimum practice life, and

date of BMP installation.  The agreement shall state that the recipient shall

maintain and repair the practice(s) for the specified minimum life of the

practice.  The Cost Share Agreement shall have a maximum contract life of three

years for BMP installation.  The district shall perform an annual status review

during the installation period.

(8)           Cost Share Incentive (CSI) means a

predetermined fixed payment paid to an applicant for implementing a BMP in lieu

of cost share.

(9)           Cost Share Rate means a cost share

percentage paid to an applicant for implementing BMPs.

(10)         Detailed Implementation Plan means the plan

approved by the commission that specifies the guidelines for the current

program, year including BMPs that will be eligible for cost sharing and the

minimum life expectancy of those practices.

(11)         District BMP means a BMP designated by a

district to reduce the delivery of agricultural NPS pollution and which is

reviewed and approved by the Division to be technically adequate prior to

funding.

(12)         Encumbered Funds means monies from a

district's allocation which have been committed to an applicant after initial

approval of the cost share agreement.

(13)         Full Time Equivalent (FTE) means 2,080 hours

per annum which equals one full time technical position.

(14)         In‑kind Contribution means a

contribution by the applicant towards the implementation of BMPs.  In‑kind

contributions shall be approved by the district and can include but not be

limited to labor, fuel, machinery use, and supplies and materials necessary for

implementing the approved BMPs.

(15)         Landowner means any natural person or other

legal entity, including a governmental agency, who holds either an estate of

freehold (such as a fee simple absolute or a life estate) or an estate for

years or from year to year in land, but does not include an estate at will or

by sufferance in land.  Furthermore, a governmental or quasi‑governmental

agency such as a drainage district or a soil and water conservation district,

or any such agency, by whatever name called, exercising similar powers for

similar purposes, can be a landowner for the purposes of these Rules if the

governmental agency holds an easement in land.

(16)         Program Year means the period from July 1

through June 30 for which funds are allocated to districts.

(17)         Proper Maintenance means that a practice(s)

is being maintained such that the practice(s) is successfully performing the

function for which it was originally implemented.

(18)         Soil Loss Tolerance (t) means the maximum

allowable annual soil erosion rate to maintain the soil resource base,

depending on soil type.

(19)         Strategy Plan means the annual plan for the

N.C. Agriculture Cost Share Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution Control to be

developed by each district.  The plan identifies pollution treatment needs and

the level of cost sharing and technical assistance monies required to address

those annual needs in the respective district.

(20)         Technical Representative of the district

means a person designated by the district to act on their behalf who

participates in the planning, design, implementation and inspection of BMPs. 

These practices shall be technically reviewed by the Division.  The district

chairman shall certify that the technical representative has properly planned,

designed and inspected the BMPs.

(21)         Unencumbered Funds means the portion of the

allocation to each district which has not been committed for cost sharing.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-840; 106-850; 139-3;

Eff. May 1, 1987;

Temporary Amendment Eff. September 23, 1996;

Recodified from 15A NCAC 6E .0002 Eff. December 20, 1996;

Amended Eff. April 1, 1997;

Temporary Amendment Expired June 13, 1997;

Amended Eff. March 1, 2008; July 1, 2004;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0102 Eff. May 1, 2012.

 

02 NCAC 59D .0103          ALLOCATION GUIDELINES AND PROCEDURES

(a)  The Commission shall allocate the cost share funds to

the districts in the designated program areas.  To receive fund allocations,

each district designated eligible by the Commission shall submit an annual

strategy plan to the Commission at the beginning of each fiscal year.  Funds

may be allocated to each district for any or all of the following purposes: 

cost share payments, cost share incentive payments, technical assistance, or

administrative assistance.  Use of funds for technical and administrative

assistance must follow the guidelines set forth in Rule .0106 of this

Subchapter.

(b)  Funds shall be allocated to the districts at the

beginning of the fiscal year and whenever the Commission determines that

sufficient funds are available to justify a reallocation.  Districts shall be

allocated monies based on the identified level of agriculture-related nonpoint

source pollution problems, the respective district's BMP installation goals as

demonstrated in the district annual strategy plan, and the district's record of

performance to affect BMP installation by cooperating farmers.  The allocation

method used for disbursement of funds is based on the relative position of each

respective district for those parameters approved by the Commission pursuant to

Paragraph (g) of this Rule.  Each district is assigned points for each

parameter, and the points are totaled and proportioned to the total dollars

available under the current program year funding according to the following

formula:

(1)           Sum of Parameter Points                   =              Total

Points

(2)           Percentage Total                                                  Total                                                      Dollars

Available

Points Each                                           x              Dollars                                   =              to

District                                                                   Available                                               Each

District

(3)           The minimum allocated to a particular

district shall be twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) per program year, unless

the district requests less than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000).

(4)           If a district requests less than the

dollars available to that district in Subparagraph (b)(2) of this Rule,  then

the excess funds beyond those requested by the district shall be allocated to

the districts who did not receive their full requested allocation using the

same methodology described in Subparagraph (b)(2) of this Rule.

(c)  95 percent of the total program funding shall be

allocated to the district accounts in the initial allocation.  The Division

shall retain five percent of the total funding in a contingency fund to be used

to respond to an emergency or natural disaster.  If the funds are not needed to

respond to an emergency, then the contingency fund shall be allocated at the

March meeting of the Commission.

(d)  The Commission may recall funds allocated to a district

during a fiscal year that have not been encumbered to an agreement at any time

if it determines the recalled funds are needed to respond to an emergency or

natural disaster.

(e)  At any time a district may submit a revised strategy

plan and apply to the Commission for additional funds.

(f)  CPO's that encumber funds under the current year must

be submitted to the Division by 5:00 p.m. on the first Wednesday in June.

(g)  Districts shall be allocated funds based on their

respective data for each of the following parameters:

(1)           Percentage of total acres of agricultural

land in North Carolina that are in the respective district (including cropland,

hayland, pasture land, and orchards/vineyards) as reported in the most recent

edition of the North Carolina Agricultural Statistics.  The actual percentage

shall be normalized to a 1-100 scale. (20%)

(2)           Percentage of total number of animal units

in North Carolina that are in the respective district as reported in the most

recent edition of the North Carolina Agricultural Statistics and converted to

animal units using the conversion factors approved by the USDA-Natural

Resources Conservation Service.  The actual percentage shall be normalized to a

1-100 scale. (20%)

(3)           Relative rank of the number of miles of

stream identified as less than fully supporting due to agricultural nonpoint

source pollution as reported in the state's 303(d) list, 305(b) report, and

basin plan. (20%)

(4)           Relative rank of the percentage of the

county draining to waters classified as Primary Nursery Areas, Outstanding

Resource Waters, High Quality Waters, Trout, Shellfishing, and Critical Water

Supply on the current schedule of Water Quality Standards and Classifications.

(10%)

(5)           The percentage of cost share funds

allocated to a district that are encumbered to contracts in the best three of

the most recent four completed program years as reported on the NC Agriculture

Cost Share Program Database. (10%)

(6)           Percentage of program funds encumbered to

contracts that are actually expended for installed BMPs in the best three of

the most recent four-year period for which the allowed time for implementing

contracted BMPs has expired as reported on the NC Agriculture Cost Share

Program Database. (10%)

(7)           Relative rank of the average erosion rate

for agricultural land in the county as reported in the National Resources

Inventory, unless the State Conservationist of the Natural Resources

Conservation Service specifies that another information source would be more

current and accurate. (10%)

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-840; 106-850; 139-4;

139-8;

Eff. May 1, 1987;

Recodified from 15A NCAC 06E .0003 Eff. December 20,

1996;

Amended Eff. April 1, 1997;

Temporary Amendment Eff. May 1, 2001;

Amended Eff. September 1, 2005; August 1, 2002;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0103 Eff. May 1, 2012.

 

02 NCAC 59D .0104          BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES ELIGIBLE FOR

COST SHARE PAYMENTS

(a)  BMP's eligible for cost sharing will be restricted to

those BMP's listed in the Detailed Implementation Plan approved by the

commission for the current program year.  BMP's shall meet the following

criteria to be listed in the Detailed Implementation Plan:

(1)           All eligible BMP's must be designed to

reduce the input of agricultural nonpoint source pollution into the water

courses of the state or as otherwise authorized by statute.

(2)           Information establishing the average cost

of the specified BMP must be available.  District BMP's may use actual costs as

indicated by receipts, if average costs are not available.

(3)           Eligible BMP's shall have adequate

technical specifications as set forth in Paragraph (b) of this Rule.

(b)  BMP definitions and specifications are set forth

periodically in the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Technical

Guide, Section IV, Raleigh, North Carolina or by the division for district

BMP's.  BMP specifications appropriate for the current program year shall be

met or exceeded in order for an applicant to qualify for cost sharing. 

Provisions for exceeding BMP design specifications by an applicant may be

considered at the time of application with the district.  The applicant shall

assume responsibility for all costs associated with exceeding BMP design

specifications.

(c)  The minimum life expectancy of the BMP's shall be

listed in the Detailed Implementation Plan.  Practices designated by a district

shall meet the life expectancy requirement established by the division for that

district BMP.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-850; 139‑8;

Eff. May 1, 1987;

Recodified from 15A NCAC 6E .0004 Eff. December 20, 1996;

Amended Eff. January 1, 1998;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0104 Eff. May 1, 2012.

 

02 NCAC 59D .0105          COST SHARE AND INCENTIVE PAYMENTS

(a)  Cost share and incentive payments may be made through

Cost Share Agreements between the district and the applicant.

(b)  For all practices except those eligible for CSI, the

state shall provide a percentage of the average cost for BMP installation not

to exceed the maximum cost share percentages shown in subdivisions (6), (8),

and (9) of G.S. 143-215.74(b), and the applicant shall contribute the remainder

of the cost.  In‑kind contributions by the applicant shall be included in

the applicants' cost share contribution.  In‑kind contributions shall be

specified in the agreement for cost sharing and shall be approved by the

district.

(c)  CSI payments shall be limited to a maximum of three

years per farm.

(d)  Average installation costs for each comparative area or

region of the state and the amount of cost share incentive payments shall be

updated and revised at least triennially by the Division for approval by the

Commission.

(e)  The total annual cost share payments to an applicant

shall not exceed the maximum funding authorized in subdivisions (6) and (9) of

G.S. 143-215.74(b).

(f)  Cost share payments to implement BMPs under this

program may be combined with other funding programs, as long as the combined

cost share rate does not exceed the amount and percentages set forth in

Paragraphs (b) and (e) of this Rule.  For special funding programs where the

applicant relinquishes all production capability on his or her agricultural

land for at least 10 years, combined funding may equal up to 100 percent. 

Agriculture Cost Share Program funding shall not exceed the maximum cost share

percentages shown in subdivisions (6), (8), and (9) of G.S. 143-215.74(b).

(g)  Use of cost share payments is restricted to land

located within the county approved for funding by the Commission.  However, in

the situation where an applicant's farm is not located solely within a county,

the entire farm, if contiguous, shall be eligible for cost share payments.

(h)  Cost share contracts used on or for local, state or

federal government land must be approved by the Commission in order to avoid

potential conflicts of interest and to ensure that such contracts are

consistent with the purposes of this program.

(i)  The district Board of Supervisors may approve Cost

Share Agreements with cost share percentages or amounts less than the maximum

allowable in subdivisions (6), (8), and (9) of G.S. 143-215.74(b) if:

(1)           The Commission allocates insufficient cost

share BMP funding to the district to enable it to award funding to all

applicants;

(2)           The district establishes other criteria in

its annual strategy plan for cost sharing percentages or amounts less than

those allowable in subdivisions (6), (8), and (9) of G.S. 143-215.74(b).

(j)  For purposes of determining eligible payments under

practice-specific caps described in the detailed implementation plan, the

district board shall consider all entities with which the applicant is

associated, including those in other counties, as the same applicant.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-840; 106-850; 139‑4;

139‑8;

Eff. May 1, 1987;

Temporary Amendment Eff. September 23, 1996;

Recodified form 15A NCAC 06E .0005 Eff. December 20,

1996;

Temporary Amendment Expired June 13, 1997;

Amended Eff. March 1, 2008; July 1, 2004; April 1, 1999;

January 1, 1998;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0105 Eff. May 1, 2012.

 

02 NCAC 59D .0106          TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FUNDS

(a)  The funds available for technical assistance shall be

allocated by the commission based on the recommendation of the division and the

needs as expressed by the district and needs to accelerate the installation of

BMP's in the respective district.  Each district may use these monies to fund

new positions or to accelerate present technical assistance positions. 

Districts must provide an itemized budget to the division in order to qualify

for technical assistance funds.  Matching funds for district technical

assistance shall be approved by the commission prior to any expenditure of

funds.  Budget revisions submitted by the districts may be approved by the NPS

Section based on Paragraph (b) of this Rule.  N. C. Agriculture Cost Share

technical assistance funds may be used for each FTE technical position with the

district matching at least 50 percent of the total.  Priorities for funding

positions shall be assigned based as follows:

(1)           Subject to availability of funds and local

match, provide support for one FTE technical position for every district.

(2)           Subject to availability of funds and local

match, provide support for one additional FTE technical position if the

position is needed to further support program implementation.  Priority for

funding positions beyond one FTE per district shall be based on the following

parameters:

(A)          Whether the position is presently funded by program

technical assistance funds.

(B)          The number of program dollars encumbered to

contracts in the highest three of the previous four completed program years,

and

(C)          The number of program dollars actually expended for

installed BMPs in the highest three years of the most recent four-year period

for which the allowed time for implementing contracted BMPs has expired as

reported on the NC Agriculture Cost Share Database.

(3)           Subject to availability of funds and local

match, provide support for additional FTE technical position if the position is

needed to further accelerate treatment of identified critical nonpoint source

pollution problem(s).

(b)  Technical assistance funds may be used for salary,

benefits, social security, field equipment and supplies, office rent, office

equipment and supplies, postage, telephone service, travel and mileage.  A

maximum of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) per year for each FTE

technical position is allowed for mileage charges.

(c)  Technical assistance funds may not be used to fund

technical assistance positions which do not meet the following minimum

requirements:

(1)           associated degree in engineering,

agriculture, forestry or related field; or

(2)           high school diploma with two years

experience in the fields listed in Rule .0106(c)(1), of this Subchapter.

(d)  Cost shared positions must be used to accelerate the

program activities in the district.  A district technician cost shared with

program funds may work on other activities as delegated by the field office

supervisor but the total hours charged to the program by field office personnel

must equal or exceed those hours funded through the program.  Also, these hours

must be in addition to those hours normally spent in BMP planning and

installation by district personnel.

(e)  District technicians may be jointly funded by more than

one district to accelerate the program in each participating district.  Each

district must be eligible for cost sharing in the program.  Requests for

funding (salary, FICA, insurance, etc.) of a shared position must be presented

to the division by all concerned districts and the division shall cost share to

the billing district at a 50-50 rate based on the portion of the FTE provided

each respective district.  A shared position must be officially housed in one

specific district and cost share for support items (office rent, telephone,

etc.) shall be paid to one district only.

(f)  Funds, if available, shall be allocated to each

participating district to provide for administrative costs under this program.

These funds shall be used for clerical assistance and other related program

administrative costs and shall be matched with in-kind funds of an equal amount

from the district.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-840; 106-850; 139‑4;

139‑8;

Eff. May 1, 1987;

Amended Eff. July 1, 1992;

Recodified from 15A NCAC 6E .0006 Eff. December 20, 1996;

Amended Eff. August 1, 2005; November 1, 1997;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0106 Eff. May 1, 2012.

 

02 NCAC 59D .0107          COST SHARE AGREEMENT

(a)  The landowner shall be required to sign the agreement

for all practices other than agronomic practices and land application of animal

wastes.  An applicant who is not the landowner may submit a long term written

lease or other legal document, indicating control over the land in lieu of the

landowner's signature, provided the control runs the life of the practice as

listed in the respective Program Year's Implementation Plan.  Signature on the

agreement constitutes responsibility for BMP maintenance and continuation.

(b)  As a condition for receiving cost share or cost share

incentive payments for implementing BMP's, the applicant shall agree to

continue and maintain those practices for the minimum life as set forth in the

Detailed Implementation Plan, effective the date the BMP's are implemented.

(c)  As a condition for receiving cost share payments, the

applicant shall agree to submit a soil test sample for analysis and follow the

fertilizer application recommendations as close as reasonably and practically

possible.  Soil testing shall be required a minimum of every two years on all

cropland affected by cost share payments.  Failure to soil test shall not

constitute noncompliance with the cost share agreement.

(d)  As a condition for receiving cost share payments for

waste management systems, the applicant shall agree to have the waste material

analyzed once every year to determine its nutrient content.  If the waste is

land applied, the applicant shall agree to soil test the area of application

and to apply the waste as close as reasonably and practically possible to

recommended rates.  When waste is land applied, waste analysis and soil testing

shall be conducted annually.

(e)  The technical representative of the district shall

determine if the practice(s) implemented have been installed according to

specifications as defined for the respective program year in the USDA‑Natural

Resources Conservation Service Technical Guide, Section IV, Raleigh, North

Carolina, according to other specifications approved by the Commission pursuant

to 02 NCAC 59G .0103, or according to specifications approved by the Division

for district BMP's based on  the criteria established in 02 NCAC 59G .0103(c). 

The district shall be responsible for making an annual spot check of five

percent of all the cost share agreements to ensure proper maintenance.  Waste

management systems shall be included as part of the annual five percent check

except for systems on farms without certified waste management plans.  In those

cases, the districts shall conduct annual status reviews for five years

following implementation.

(f)  If the technical representative of the district

determines that a BMP for which program funds were received has been destroyed

or has not been properly maintained, the applicant will be notified that the

BMP must be repaired or re-implemented within 30 working days.  For vegetative

practices, applicants are given one calendar year to re-establish the

vegetation.  The district may grant a prescribed extension period if it

determines compliance can not be met due to circumstances beyond the applicants

control.

(g)  If the practices are not repaired or reimplemented

within the specified time, the applicant shall be required to repay to the

Division a prorated refund for cost share BMP's as shown in Table 1 and 100

percent of the cost share incentive payments received.

                                                                                                 Table

1

                                                PRORATED

REFUND SCHEDULE FOR NONCOMPLIANCE

                                                                            OF

COST SHARE PAYMENTS

 

                       Percent Age of Practice Life                                                           Percent

Refund

                                                  0                                                                                           100

                                               10                                                                                             95

                                               20                                                                                             89

                                               30                                                                                             82

                                               40                                                                                             74

                                               50                                                                                             65

                                               60                                                                                             55

                                               70                                                                                             44

                                               80                                                                                             31

                                               90                                                                                             17

                                             100                                                                                                0

(h)  An applicant, who has been found in noncompliance and

who does not agree to repair or reimplement the cost shared practices, and a

District may jointly request the commission to informally mediate the case.  To

invoke this method of mediation, both parties must stipulate that the

commission mediation is binding.

(i)  An applicant shall have 180 days to make repayment to

the Division following the final appeals process.

(j)  The inability to properly maintain cost shared

practices or the destruction of such practices through no fault of the

applicant shall not be considered as noncompliance with the cost share

agreement.

(k)  When land under cost share agreement changes owners the

new landowner shall be strongly encouraged by the district to accept the

remaining maintenance obligation.  If the new landowner does not accept the

maintenance requirements in writing, then the original applicant shall be

required to refund 100 percent of all CSI payments and a prorated portion of

cost share payments in accordance with Table 1 in Paragraph (g) of this Rule.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-850; 139-4; 139‑8;



Eff. May 1, 1987;

Amended Eff. July 1, 1992;

Recodified from 15A NCAC 6E .0007 Eff. December 20, 1996;

Amended Eff. June 1, 2008; April 1, 1999; November 1,

1997;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0107 Eff. May 1, 2012.

 

02 NCAC 59D .0108          DISTRICT PROGRAM OPERATION

(a)  As a component of the annual strategy plan, the

district shall prioritize both cropland and animal operations according to

pollution potential.  The district shall target technical and financial

assistance to facilitate BMP implementation on the identified critical areas.

(b)  Priority by the district may be given to implementing

systems of BMP's which provide the most cost effective reduction of nonpoint

source pollution.

(c)  All applicants shall apply to the district and complete

the necessary forms in order to receive cost share payments.

(d)  The district shall review each application and the

feasibility of each application.  The district shall review and approve the

evaluation and assign priority for cost sharing.  All applicants shall be

informed of cost share approval or denial.

(e)  Upon approval of the application by the district, the

applicant and the district shall enter into a cost share agreement.  The cost

share agreement shall list the practices to be cost shared with state funds. 

The agreement shall also include the average cost of the recommended

practice(s), cost incentive payment of the practice(s), and the expected

implementation date of the practice(s).  The District shall develop CPO's,

which shall become a part of the cost share agreement.

(f)  Upon completion of practice(s) implementation, the

technical representative of the district shall notify the district of

compliance with design specifications.

(g)  Upon notification, the district shall review the CPO. 

Upon approval, the district shall certify the practices in the CPO and notify

the Division to make payment to the applicant.

(h)  Upon receipt of a quarterly statement from the

district, the Division shall reimburse to the district the appropriate amount

for technical and clerical assistance.

(i)  The district shall be responsible for and approve all

BMP inspections as set forth in Rule .0107(e) of this Section to insure proper

maintenance and continuation under the cost share agreement.

(j)  The district shall keep appropriate records dealing

with the program.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 106-840; 106-850; 139‑4;

139‑8;

Eff. May 1, 1987;

Recodified from 15A NCAC 6E .0008 Eff. December 20, 1996;

Amended Eff. March 1, 2008; November 1, 1997;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 06E .0108 Eff. May 1, 2012.