| Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 5512 (ih) To amend chapter 23 of title 5, United States Code, to clarify the [Introduced in House] ...
H.R. 5512 (ih) To amend chapter 23 of title 5, United States Code, to clarify the [Introduced in House] ...
106th CONGRESS 2d Session H. R. 5511 To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to establish the conservation security program. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES October 19, 2000 Mr. Minge (for himself, Mrs. Emerson, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Boehlert, Mr. Oberstar, Mr. Thune, Mr. Condit, Mr. Cooksey, Mr. Peterson of Minnesota, Mr. Gutknecht, Mrs. Clayton, Mr. Bereuter, Mr. Pomeroy, Mr. Bishop, Mr. Baldacci, Mr. Berry, Mr. Boswell, Mr. Phelps, Mr. Hill of Indiana, Mr. Kind, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Sawyer, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Wynn, and Ms. Hooley of Oregon) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to establish the conservation security program. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Conservation Security Act of 2000''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds that-- (1) in addition to producing food and fiber, agricultural producers can contribute to the public good by providing improved soil productivity, clean air and water, wildlife habitat, landscape and recreational amenities, and other natural resources and environmental benefits; (2) agricultural producers in the United States have a long history of embracing environmentally friendly conservation practices and desire to continue those practices and engage in new and additional conservation practices; (3) agricultural producers that engage in conservation practices-- (A) may not receive economic rewards for implementing conservation practices; and (B) should be encouraged to engage in good stewardship, and should be rewarded for doing so; (4) despite significant progress in recent years, significant environmental challenges on agricultural land remain; (5) since the 1930's, when agricultural conservation became a national priority, Federal resources for conservation assistance have declined over 50 percent, when adjusted for inflation; (6) existing conservation programs do not provide opportunities for all interested agricultural producers to participate; (7) a voluntary, incentive-based conservation program open to all agricultural producers that qualify and desire to participate would-- (A) encourage greater improvement of natural resources and the environment; (B) address the economic implications of conservation practices in a manner consistent with international obligations of the United States; and (C) enable United States farmers and ranchers to produce food for a growing world population; (8) total farm conservation planning can help producers increase profitability, enhance resource protection, and improve quality of life; (9) on-farm practices may help deter invasive species that jeopardize native species or impair agricultural land of the United States; and (10) a conservation program described in paragraph (7) would help achieve a better balance between Federal payments supporting conservation on land used for agricultural production and Federal payments for the purpose of retiring agricultural land from production. SEC. 3. CONSERVATION SECURITY PROGRAM. (a) In General.--Subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3830 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following: ``CHAPTER 6--CONSERVATION SECURITY PROGRAM ``SEC. 1240P. DEFINITIONS. ``In this chapter: ``(1) Conservation practice.--The term `conservation practice' means a land-based farming technique that-- ``(A) requires planning, implementation, management, and maintenance; and ``(B) promotes 1 or more of the purposes described in section 1240Q(a). ``(2) Conservation security contract.--The term `conservation security contract' means a contract described in section 1240Q(e). ``(3) Conservation security plan.--The term `conservation security plan' means a plan described in section 1240Q(c). ``(4) Conservation security program.--The term `conservation security program' means the program established under section 1240Q(a). ``(5) Nutrient management.--The term `nutrient management' means management of the quantity, source, placement, form, and timing of the land application of nutrients and other additions to soil-- ``(A) to achieve or maintain adequate soil fertility for agricultural production; and ``(B) to minimize the potential for loss of environmental quality, including soil, water, and air quality impairment. ``(6) Resource-conserving crop.--The term `resource- conserving crop' means-- ``(A) a perennial grass; ``(B) a legume grown for use as forage or green manure; ``(C) a legume-grass mixture; ``(D) a small grain grown in combination with a grass or legume, whether interseeded or planted in succession; and ``(E) such other plantings, including trees, as the Secretary considers appropriate for a particular area. ``(7) Resource-conserving crop rotation.--The term `resource-conserving crop rotation' means a crop rotation that-- ``(A) includes at least 1 resource-conserving crop; ``(B) reduces erosion; ``(C) improves soil fertility and tilth; and ``(D) interrupts pest cycles. ``(8) Resource management system.--The term `resource management system' means a system of conservation practices and management relating to land or water use that is designed to prevent resource degradation and permit sustained use of the land and water. ``SEC. 1240Q. CONSERVATION SECURITY PROGRAM. ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall establish a conservation security program to assist owners and operators of agricultural operations to promote, as is applicable for each operation-- ``(1) conservation of soil, water, energy, and other related resources; ``(2) soil quality protection and improvement; ``(3) water quality protection and improvement; ``(4) air quality protection and improvement; ``(5) soil, plant, or animal health and well-being; ``(6) diversity of flora and fauna; ``(7) on-farm conservation and regeneration of biological resources, including plant and animal germplasm; ``(8) wetland restoration, conservation, and enhancement; ``(9) wildlife habitat restoration, conservation, and enhancement; ``(10) reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and enhancement of carbon sequestration; ``(11) protection of human health and safety; ``(12) environmentally sound management of invasive species; or ``(13) any similar conservation purpose (as determined by the Secretary). ``(b) Eligibility.-- ``(1) In general.--To be eligible to participate in the conservation security program (other than to receive technical assistance under subsection (h)(6) for the development of conservation security contracts), an owner or operator shall-- ``(A) develop and submit to the Secretary, and obtain the approval of the Secretary of, a conservation security plan that meets the requirements of subsection (c); and ``(B) enter into a conservation security contract with the Secretary to carry out the conservation security plan. ``(2) Ineligible land.--Land enrolled in the conservation reserve program under subchapter B of chapter I shall not be eligible for enrollment in the conservation security program except for land enrolled in partial field conservation practice enrollment options. ``(c) Conservation Security Plans.-- ``(1) In general.--A conservation security plan shall-- ``(A) identify the resources and designated land to be conserved under the conservation security plan; ``(B) describe the tier of conservation practices, and the particular conservation practices to be implemented, maintained, or improved, in accordance with subsection (d) on the land that will be enrolled in the conservation security program covered by the conservation security contract for the specified term; ``(C) contain a schedule for the implementation, maintenance, or improvement of the conservation practices described in the conservation security plan during the term of the conservation security contract; ``(D) meet the requirements of the highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements of subtitles B and C; and ``(E) contain such other terms as the Secretary determines to be appropriate. ``(2) Comprehensive planning.--The Secretary shall encourage owners and operators that enter into conservation security contracts-- ``(A) to undertake a comprehensive examination of the opportunities for conserving natural resources and improving the profitability, environmental health, and quality of life in relation to their entire agricultural operations; ``(B) to develop a long-term strategy for implementing, monitoring, and evaluating conservation practices and environmental results in the entire agricultural operation; ``(C) to participate in other Federal conservation programs; and ``(D) to maintain the agricultural integrity of the land. ``(3) State and local conservation priorities.--To the maximum extent practicable and in a manner consistent with the conservation security program, each conservation security plan shall address the conservation priorities of the State and locality in which the agricultural operation is located (as determined by the State conservationist in consultation with the State technical committee established under subtitle G and the local working groups of the State technical committee). ``(d) Conservation Practices.-- ``(1) In general.-- ``(A) Establishment of tiers.--The Secretary shall establish 3 tiers of conservation practices that are eligible for payment under a conservation security contract. ``(B) Conservation practice standards.--To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall establish guidance standards for implementation of eligible conservation practices that shall include measurable goals for enhancing and preventing degradation of resources. ``(2) Sustainable economic uses.--With respect to land enrolled in the conservation security program, including land use adjustment activities specified under Tier II, the Secretary shall permit economic uses of the land that-- ``(A) maintain the agricultural nature of land; ``(B) achieve the natural resource and environmental benefits of the plan; and ``(C) are approved as part of the conservation security plan. ``(3) On-farm research and demonstration.--With respect to land enrolled in the conservation security program that will be maintained using a Tier II or Tier III conservation practice established under paragraph (5), the Secretary may approve a conservation security plan that includes on-farm research and demonstration activities, including innovative approaches to-- ``(A) total farm planning; ``(B) total resource management; ``(C) integrated farming systems; ``(D) germplasm conservation and regeneration; ``(E) carbon sequestration; ``(F) agro-ecological restoration and wildlife habitat restoration; ``(G) agro-forestry; ``(H) invasive species control; or ``(I) farm and environmental results monitoring and evaluation. ``(4) Use of handbook and guides.-- ``(A) In general.--In determining eligible conservation practices under the conservation security program, the Secretary shall use the National Handbook of Conservation Practices and the field office technical guides of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. ``(B) Adjustments.--After providing notice and an opportunity for public participation, the Secretary shall make such adjustments to the National Handbook of Conservation Practices as are necessary to carry out this chapter. ``(C) Pilot testing.-- ``(i) In general.--Under any of the 3 tiers of conservation practices established under paragraph (5), the Secretary may approve requests by an owner or operator for pilot testing of new technologies and innovative conservation practices and systems. ``(ii) Incorporation into standards.--After evaluation by the Secretary and provision of notice and an opportunity for public participation, the Secretary may incorporate new technologies and innovative conservation
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