H.R. 33 (107th): To amend the Agricultural Market Transition Act to authorize a program to encourage agricultural producers to rest ...

...and rehabilitate croplands while enhancing soil and water conservation and wildlife habitat.

107th Congress, 2001–2002. Text as of Jan 03, 2001 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

HR 33 IH

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 33

To amend the Agricultural Market Transition Act to authorize a program to encourage agricultural producers to rest and rehabilitate croplands while enhancing soil and water conservation and wildlife habitat.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 3, 2001

Mr. BEREUTER introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture


A BILL

To amend the Agricultural Market Transition Act to authorize a program to encourage agricultural producers to rest and rehabilitate croplands while enhancing soil and water conservation and wildlife habitat.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. HABITAT ENHANCEMENT ROTATION OPTION.

    The Agricultural Market Transition Act is amended by inserting after section 118 (7 U.S.C. 7218) the following new section:

‘SEC. 119. HABITAT ENHANCEMENT ROTATION OPTION.

    ‘(a) PROGRAM REQUIRED; PURPOSE- The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a voluntary program, to be known as the ‘Habitat Enhancement Rotation Option’, to encourage agricultural producers to rest and rehabilitate up to 25 percent of their contract acreage for the purpose of enhancing soil and water conservation and providing wildlife habitat.

    ‘(b) PAYMENT RATES AND PROGRAM AGREEMENTS-

      ‘(1) ESTABLISHMENT OF RATES- Under the Habitat Enhancement Rotation Option, the Secretary shall establish the annual payment rates that the Secretary will pay to producers who enroll contract acreage into the program. The Secretary shall base the payment rates for a county on the rental payments and buffer bonuses used for comparable land in the county enrolled under the environmental conservation acreage reserve program.

      ‘(2) AGREEMENTS- Subject to the availability of funds to carry out the Habitat Enhancement Rotation Option, the Secretary shall offer to enter into agreements under the program at the annual payment rates established under paragraph (1).

      ‘(3) ELIGIBLE PRODUCERS- A producer on a farm is eligible to enroll contract acreage in the Habitat Enhancement Rotation Option only if the producer--

        ‘(A) is an owner or producer who is a party to a production flexibility contract for that farm; or

        ‘(B) after the expiration of such contract, meets one of the eligibility categories described in subsection (b) of section 111 and agrees to comply with the conservation requirements and wetland protection requirements referred to in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) of such section.

    ‘(c) DURATION; EARLY TERMINATION-

      ‘(1) DURATION; EXTENSION- The term of an agreement under the Habitat Enhancement Rotation Option shall be at least two years, but may not exceed four years. An agreement may be extended for an additional term by the further agreement of the parties if the need for the program continues.

      ‘(2) TERMINATION- In times of crop shortages, the Secretary may terminate or suspend agreements under this section (or authorize producers to terminate or suspend such agreements) and permit the producers to return the withdrawn acreage to crop production. The termination or suspension of an agreement by the Secretary shall not change the obligations of the Secretary with regard to payments required under the agreement. The Secretary shall make any decision to terminate or suspend agreements (or to authorize producers to terminate or suspend such agreements) at such time in advance of planting so as to permit the producers to secure crop insurance for the crop to be planted.

    ‘(d) USE OF COVER CROPS-

      ‘(1) AUTHORIZED COVER CROPS- A producer subject to an agreement under this section shall plant the enrolled acreage to a soil conservation and wildlife enhancing cover crop. The cover crops authorized for enrolled acreage in a county shall be determined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist in consultation with the State Technical Committee. The producer shall incorporate the cover crop into the present rotation schedule for the farm, thus enhancing and conserving the cropland.

      ‘(2) GRAZING- The Secretary shall permit limited grazing on the enrolled acreage, where such grazing is incidental to the gleaning of crop residues on adjacent fields. The cover crop may not be grazed during the five principal growing months, as determined by the Secretary.

    ‘(e) SUPPLEMENTAL PROGRAM- The Habitat Enhancement Rotation Option is in addition to all other farm program authority of the Secretary. Payments received by producers under the agreements are in addition to any other payments they may be eligible to receive from the Secretary.

    ‘(f) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.’.