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S. 1840 (rs) To provide for the transfer of public lands to certain California Indian Tribes. [Reported in Senate] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1840

    To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to encourage owners and 
  operators of privately-held farm and ranch land to voluntarily make 
     their land available for access by the public under programs 
                        administered by States.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                            November 7, 2003

  Mr. Conrad (for himself, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Dayton, Mr. 
 Dorgan, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Enzi, Mr. Kerry, Mr. Harkin, Mr. 
Coleman, Mr. Reid, and Mr. Nelson of Nebraska) introduced the following 
      bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                  Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
    To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to encourage owners and 
  operators of privately-held farm and ranch land to voluntarily make 
     their land available for access by the public under programs 
                        administered by States.

    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 ``Voluntary Public Access and Wildlife 
Habitat Incentive Program Act of 2003''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--
            (1) according to the United States Fish and Wildlife 
        Service, in 2001, 82,000,000 individuals in the United States 
        aged 16 years and older participated in wildlife-related 
        recreation, including 34,000,000 individuals who hunted, and 
        more than 66,000,000 who engaged in wildlife-related recreation 
        such as observing, feeding, or photographing wildlife, in the 
        United States;
            (2) individuals who participated in wildlife-related 
        activities in 2001 spent an estimated $108,000,000,000, 
        including--
                    (A) more than $35,000,000,000 on fishing;
                    (B) nearly $21,000,000,000 on hunting; and
                    (C) more than $28,000,000,000 on food, lodging, and 
                transportation;
            (3) the growing public demand for outdoor recreational 
        opportunities is increasingly constrained by the limits on both 
        public and private land resources;
            (4) limited public access on private land has often 
        frustrated and disappointed hunters and other naturalists, and 
        undermined the relationship between land owners and the general 
        public;
            (5) several States have established successful but modest 
        walk-in programs to encourage public access on private farm and 
        ranch land, yet the demand for such voluntary access programs 
        remains largely unfulfilled;
            (6) traditional agricultural markets have in recent years 
        offered limited income opportunities for farm and ranch land 
        owners and operators; and
            (7) current proposals to reform world agricultural trade 
        favor the development of new methods to support the income of 
        agricultural producers that have minimal impact on agricultural 
        production and prices.

SEC. 3. VOLUNTARY PUBLIC ACCESS AND HABITAT INCENTIVE PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 5 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food 
Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839bb et seq.) is amended by adding at 
the end the following:

``SEC. 1240Q. VOLUNTARY PUBLIC ACCESS AND HABITAT INCENTIVE PROGRAM.

    ``(a) In General.--The Secretary shall establish a voluntary public 
access program under which States may apply for grants to encourage 
owners and operators of privately-held farm and ranch land to 
voluntarily make that land available for access by the public under 
programs administered by the States.
    ``(b) Applications.--In submitting applications for a grant under 
the program, a State shall describe--
            ``(1) the benefits that the State intends to achieve by 
        encouraging public access on private farm and ranch land, 
        through such activities as hunting, fishing, bird watching, and 
        related outdoor activities; and
            ``(2) the methods that will be used to achieve those 
        benefits.
    ``(c) Priority.--In approving applications and awarding grants 
under the program, the Secretary shall give priority to States that 
propose--
            ``(1) to maximize participation by offering a program the 
        terms of which are likely to meet with widespread acceptance 
        among landowners;
            ``(2) to ensure that land enrolled under the State program 
        has appropriate wildlife habitat;
            ``(3) to strengthen wildlife habitat improvement efforts on 
        land enrolled in a special conservation reserve enhancement 
        program described in 1234(f)(4) by providing incentives to 
        increase public access on that land; and
            ``(4) to use additional Federal, State, or private 
        resources in carrying out the program.
    ``(d) Relationship to Other Laws.--Nothing in this section preempts 
a State law (including any State liability law).
    ``(e) Regulations.--The Secretary shall promulgate such regulations 
as are necessary to carry out this section.''.
    (b) Funding.--Section 1241(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 
U.S.C. 3841(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
            ``(8) The voluntary public access program under section 
        1240Q, using, to the maximum extent practicable, $50,000,000 in 
        each of fiscal years 2003 through 2007.''.

SEC. 4. PREVENTION OF EXCESS BASE ACRES.

    Section 1101(g)(2) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 
2002 (7 U.S.C. 7911(g)(2)) is amended by striking subparagraph (C).
                                 <all>

Pages: 1

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