(1) The application must contain the results of a prime farmland investigation developed in consultation with the U.S. natural resources conservation service to determine whether lands within the proposed permit area are prime farmlands as defined in ARM 17.24.301.
(2) If the lands in question have not "historically been used for cropland" as that term is defined in ARM 17.24.301, the applicant must submit a request for a negative determination for these lands with documentation supporting this request.
(3) If the lands in question have historically been used for cropland, the applicant shall, in consultation with the Montana state office of the U.S. natural resources conservation service, determine if any soils, characterized and described in accordance with ARM 17.24.304(1) (k) , on these lands meet the criteria of prime farmlands as contained in 7 CFR 657;
(a) Whenever a determination is made that the soil survey of lands within the proposed permit area identifies soils that meet the criteria of prime farmlands, the applicant shall indicate the reasons for this determination and shall include materials in the application showing compliance with ARM 17.24.324.
(b) When the soil survey for lands within the proposed permit area does not identify soils that meet the criteria for designation as prime farmland, the applicant shall submit a request for negative determination for these lands with reasons supporting this conclusion.