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H.R. 2 (115th): Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

The text of the bill below is as of Dec 14, 2018 (Passed Congress).


I

One Hundred Fifteenth Congress of the United States of America

At the Second Session

H. R. 2

AN ACT

To provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2023, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Definition of Secretary.

TITLE I—Commodities

Subtitle A—Commodity Policy

Sec. 1101. Definition of effective reference price.

Sec. 1102. Base acres.

Sec. 1103. Payment yields.

Sec. 1104. Payment acres.

Sec. 1105. Producer election.

Sec. 1106. Price loss coverage.

Sec. 1107. Agriculture risk coverage.

Sec. 1108. Repeal of transition assistance for producers of upland cotton.

Subtitle B—Marketing Loans

Sec. 1201. Extensions.

Sec. 1202. Loan rates for nonrecourse marketing assistance loans.

Sec. 1203. Economic adjustment assistance for textile mills.

Sec. 1204. Special competitive provisions for extra long staple cotton.

Sec. 1205. Availability of recourse loans.

Subtitle C—Sugar

Sec. 1301. Sugar policy.

Subtitle D—Dairy Margin Coverage and Other Dairy Related Provisions

Sec. 1401. Dairy margin coverage.

Sec. 1402. Reauthorizations.

Sec. 1403. Class I skim milk price.

Sec. 1404. Dairy product donation.

Subtitle E—Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Sec. 1501. Supplemental agricultural disaster assistance.

Subtitle F—Noninsured Crop Assistance

Sec. 1601. Noninsured crop assistance program.

Subtitle G—Administration

Sec. 1701. Regulations.

Sec. 1702. Suspension of permanent price support authority.

Sec. 1703. Payment limitations.

Sec. 1704. Adjusted gross income limitations.

Sec. 1705. Farm Service Agency accountability.

Sec. 1706. Implementation.

Sec. 1707. Exemption from certain reporting requirements for certain producers.

TITLE II—Conservation

Subtitle A—Wetland Conservation

Sec. 2101. Wetland conversion.

Sec. 2102. Wetland conservation.

Sec. 2103. Mitigation banking.

Subtitle B—Conservation Reserve Program

Sec. 2201. Conservation reserve.

Sec. 2202. Conservation reserve enhancement program.

Sec. 2203. Farmable wetland program.

Sec. 2204. Pilot programs.

Sec. 2205. Duties of owners and operators.

Sec. 2206. Duties of the Secretary.

Sec. 2207. Payments.

Sec. 2208. Contracts.

Sec. 2209. Eligible land; State law requirements.

Subtitle C—Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program

Sec. 2301. Repeal of conservation programs.

Sec. 2302. Purposes of environmental quality incentives program.

Sec. 2303. Definitions under environmental quality incentives program.

Sec. 2304. Establishment and administration of environmental quality incentives program.

Sec. 2305. Environmental quality incentives program plan.

Sec. 2306. Limitation on payments under environmental quality incentives program.

Sec. 2307. Conservation innovation grants and payments.

Sec. 2308. Conservation stewardship program.

Sec. 2309. Grassland conservation initiative.

Subtitle D—Other Conservation Programs

Sec. 2401. Watershed protection and flood prevention.

Sec. 2402. Soil and water resources conservation.

Sec. 2403. Emergency conservation program.

Sec. 2404. Conservation of private grazing land.

Sec. 2405. Grassroots source water protection program.

Sec. 2406. Voluntary public access and habitat incentive program.

Sec. 2407. Wildlife management.

Sec. 2408. Feral swine eradication and control pilot program.

Sec. 2409. Report on small wetlands.

Sec. 2410. Sense of Congress relating to increased watershed-based collaboration.

Subtitle E—Funding and Administration

Sec. 2501. Commodity Credit Corporation.

Sec. 2502. Delivery of technical assistance.

Sec. 2503. Administrative requirements for conservation programs.

Sec. 2504. Temporary administration of conservation programs.

Subtitle F—Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Sec. 2601. Establishment and purposes.

Sec. 2602. Definitions.

Sec. 2603. Agricultural land easements.

Sec. 2604. Wetland reserve easements.

Sec. 2605. Administration.

Subtitle G—Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Sec. 2701. Establishment and purposes.

Sec. 2702. Definitions.

Sec. 2703. Regional conservation partnerships.

Sec. 2704. Assistance to producers.

Sec. 2705. Funding.

Sec. 2706. Administration.

Sec. 2707. Critical conservation areas.

Subtitle H—Repeals and Technical Amendments

PART I—Repeals

Sec. 2811. Repeal of Conservation Corridor Demonstration Program.

Sec. 2812. Repeal of cranberry acreage reserve program.

Sec. 2813. Repeal of National Natural Resources Foundation.

Sec. 2814. Repeal of flood risk reduction.

Sec. 2815. Repeal of study of land use for expiring contracts and extension of authority.

Sec. 2816. Repeal of Integrated Farm Management Program Option.

Sec. 2817. Repeal of clarification of definition of agricultural lands.

PART II—Technical Amendments

Sec. 2821. Technical amendments.

Sec. 2822. State technical committees.

TITLE III—Trade

Subtitle A—Food for Peace Act

Sec. 3101. Labeling requirements.

Sec. 3102. Food aid quality assurance.

Sec. 3103. Local sale and barter of commodities.

Sec. 3104. Minimum levels of assistance.

Sec. 3105. Food aid consultative group.

Sec. 3106. Issuance of regulations.

Sec. 3107. Oversight, monitoring, and evaluation.

Sec. 3108. Assistance for stockpiling and rapid transportation, delivery, and distribution of shelf-stable prepackaged foods.

Sec. 3109. Consideration of impact of provision of agricultural commodities and other assistance on local farmers and economy.

Sec. 3110. Allowance for distribution costs.

Sec. 3111. Prepositioning of agricultural commodities.

Sec. 3112. Annual report regarding food aid programs and activities.

Sec. 3113. Deadline for agreements to finance sales or to provide other assistance.

Sec. 3114. Minimum level of nonemergency food assistance.

Sec. 3115. Termination date for micronutrient fortification programs.

Sec. 3116. John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer program.

Subtitle B—Agricultural Trade Act of 1978

Sec. 3201. Agricultural trade promotion and facilitation.

Subtitle C—Other Agricultural Trade Laws

Sec. 3301. Growing American Food Exports.

Sec. 3302. Food for Progress Act of 1985.

Sec. 3303. Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust Act.

Sec. 3304. Promotion of agricultural exports to emerging markets.

Sec. 3305. Cochran fellowship program.

Sec. 3306. Borlaug International Agricultural Science and Technology Fellowship program.

Sec. 3307. International Agricultural Education Fellowship program.

Sec. 3308. International food security technical assistance.

Sec. 3309. McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program.

Sec. 3310. Global Crop Diversity Trust.

Sec. 3311. Local and regional food aid procurement projects.

Sec. 3312. Foreign trade missions.

TITLE IV—Nutrition

Subtitle A—Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Sec. 4001. Requirements for online acceptance of benefits.

Sec. 4002. Re-evaluation of thrifty food plan.

Sec. 4003. Food distribution program on Indian reservations.

Sec. 4004. Simplified homeless housing costs.

Sec. 4005. Employment and training for supplemental nutrition assistance program.

Sec. 4006. Improvements to electronic benefit transfer system.

Sec. 4007. Review of supplemental nutrition assistance program operations.

Sec. 4008. Retail incentives.

Sec. 4009. Required action on data match information.

Sec. 4010. Incentivizing technology modernization.

Sec. 4011. Interstate data matching to prevent multiple issuances.

Sec. 4012. Requirement of live-production environments for certain pilot projects relating to cost sharing for computerization.

Sec. 4013. Quality control improvements.

Sec. 4014. Evaluation of child support enforcement cooperation requirements.

Sec. 4015. Longitudinal data for research.

Sec. 4016. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 4017. Assistance for community food projects.

Sec. 4018. Emergency food assistance program.

Sec. 4019. Nutrition education.

Sec. 4020. Retail food store and recipient trafficking.

Sec. 4021. Public-private partnerships.

Sec. 4022. Technical corrections.

Subtitle B—Commodity Distribution Programs

Sec. 4101. Commodity distribution program.

Sec. 4102. Commodity supplemental food program.

Sec. 4103. Distribution of surplus commodities to special nutrition projects.

Sec. 4104. Food donation standards.

Subtitle C—Miscellaneous

Sec. 4201. Seniors farmers’ market nutrition program.

Sec. 4202. Purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables for distribution to schools and service institutions.

Sec. 4203. Service of traditional foods in public facilities.

Sec. 4204. Healthy food financing initiative.

Sec. 4205. The Gus Schumacher nutrition incentive program.

Sec. 4206. Micro-grants for food security.

Sec. 4207. Buy American requirements.

Sec. 4208. Healthy fluid milk incentives projects.

TITLE V—Credit

Subtitle A—Farm Ownership Loans

Sec. 5101. Modification of the 3-year experience eligibility requirement for farm ownership loans.

Sec. 5102. Conservation loan and loan guarantee program.

Sec. 5103. Limitations on amount of farm ownership loans.

Sec. 5104. Relending program to resolve ownership and succession on farmland.

Subtitle B—Operating Loans

Sec. 5201. Limitations on amount of operating loans.

Sec. 5202. Microloans.

Sec. 5203. Cooperative lending pilot projects.

Subtitle C—Administrative Provisions

Sec. 5301. Beginning farmer and rancher individual development accounts pilot program.

Sec. 5302. Loan authorization levels.

Sec. 5303. Loan fund set-asides.

Sec. 5304. Use of additional funds for direct operating microloans under certain conditions.

Sec. 5305. Equitable relief.

Sec. 5306. Socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; qualified beginning farmers and ranchers.

Sec. 5307. Emergency loan eligibility.

Subtitle D—Miscellaneous

Sec. 5401. Technical corrections to the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

Sec. 5402. State agricultural mediation programs.

Sec. 5403. Compensation of bank directors.

Sec. 5404. Sharing of privileged and confidential information.

Sec. 5405. Facility headquarters.

Sec. 5406. Removal and prohibition authority; industry-wide prohibition.

Sec. 5407. Jurisdiction over institution-affiliated parties.

Sec. 5408. Definition of institution-affiliated party.

Sec. 5409. Prohibition on use of funds.

Sec. 5410. Expansion of acreage exception to loan amount limitation.

Sec. 5411. Repeal of obsolete provisions; technical corrections.

Sec. 5412. Corporation as conservator or receiver; certain other powers.

Sec. 5413. Reporting.

Sec. 5414. Study on loan risk.

Sec. 5415. GAO report on ability of the Farm Credit System to meet the agricultural credit needs of Indian tribes and their members.

Sec. 5416. GAO report on credit service to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

TITLE VI—Rural Development

Subtitle A—Improving Health Outcomes in Rural America

Sec. 6101. Combating substance use disorder in rural America; prioritizations.

Sec. 6102. Distance learning and telemedicine.

Sec. 6103. Refinancing of certain rural hospital debt.

Subtitle B—Connecting Rural Americans to High Speed Broadband

Sec. 6201. Access to broadband telecommunications services in rural areas.

Sec. 6202. Expansion of middle mile infrastructure into rural areas.

Sec. 6203. Modifications to the Rural Gigabit Program.

Sec. 6204. Community Connect Grant Program.

Sec. 6205. Outdated broadband systems.

Sec. 6206. Default and deobligation; deferral.

Sec. 6207. Public notice, assessments, and reporting requirements.

Sec. 6208. Environmental reviews.

Sec. 6209. Use of loan proceeds to refinance loans for deployment of broadband service.

Sec. 6210. Smart utility authority for broadband.

Sec. 6211. Refinancing of telephone loans.

Sec. 6212. Federal broadband program coordination.

Sec. 6213. Transition rule.

Sec. 6214. Rural broadband integration working group.

Subtitle C—Miscellaneous

Sec. 6301. Exclusion of certain populations from definition of rural area.

Sec. 6302. Establishment of technical assistance program.

Sec. 6303. Rural energy savings program.

Sec. 6304. Northern Border Regional Commission reauthorization.

Sec. 6305. Definition of rural area for purposes of the Housing Act of 1949.

Sec. 6306. Council on Rural Community Innovation and Economic Development.

Subtitle D—Additional Amendments to the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act

Sec. 6401. Strategic economic and community development.

Sec. 6402. Expanding access to credit for rural communities.

Sec. 6403. Water, waste disposal, and wastewater facility grants.

Sec. 6404. Rural water and wastewater technical assistance and training programs.

Sec. 6405. Rural water and wastewater circuit rider program.

Sec. 6406. Tribal college and university essential community facilities.

Sec. 6407. Emergency and imminent community water assistance grant program.

Sec. 6408. Water systems for rural and native villages in Alaska.

Sec. 6409. Rural decentralized water systems.

Sec. 6410. Solid waste management grants.

Sec. 6411. Rural business development grants.

Sec. 6412. Rural cooperative development grants.

Sec. 6413. Locally or regionally produced agricultural food products.

Sec. 6414. Appropriate technology transfer for rural areas program.

Sec. 6415. Rural economic area partnership zones.

Sec. 6416. Intemediary relending program.

Sec. 6417. Access to information to verify income for participants in certain rural housing programs.

Sec. 6418. Providing for additional fees for guaranteed loans under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

Sec. 6419. Rural Business-Cooperative Service programs technical assistance and training.

Sec. 6420. National Rural Development Partnership.

Sec. 6421. Grants for NOAA weather radio transmitters.

Sec. 6422. Rural microentrepreneur assistance program.

Sec. 6423. Health care services.

Sec. 6424. Rural innovation stronger economy grant program.

Sec. 6425. Delta Regional Authority.

Sec. 6426. Rural business investment program.

Sec. 6427. Rural business investment program.

Subtitle E—Additional Amendments to the Rural Electrification Act of 1936

Sec. 6501. Amendments to section 2 of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

Sec. 6502. Loans for telephone service.

Sec. 6503. Cushion of credit payments program.

Sec. 6504. Extension of the rural economic development loan and grant program.

Sec. 6505. Guarantees for bonds and notes issued for electrification or telephone purposes.

Sec. 6506. Expansion of 911 access.

Sec. 6507. Cybersecurity and grid security improvements.

Subtitle F—Program Repeals

Sec. 6601. Elimination of unfunded programs.

Sec. 6602. Repeal of Rural Telephone Bank.

Sec. 6603. Amendments to LOCAL TV Act.

Subtitle G—Technical Corrections

Sec. 6701. Corrections relating to the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

Sec. 6702. Corrections relating to the Rural Electrification Act of 1936.

TITLE VII—Research, Extension, and Related Matters

Subtitle A—National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977

Sec. 7101. Purposes of agricultural research, extension, and education.

Sec. 7102. Matters related to certain school designations and declarations.

Sec. 7103. National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board.

Sec. 7104. Specialty crop committee.

Sec. 7105. Renewable energy committee discontinued.

Sec. 7106. Veterinary services grant program.

Sec. 7107. Grants and fellowships for food and agriculture sciences education.

Sec. 7108. Agricultural and food policy research centers.

Sec. 7109. Education grants to Alaska Native serving institutions and Native Hawaiian serving institutions.

Sec. 7110. Next generation agriculture technology challenge.

Sec. 7111. Land-grant designation.

Sec. 7112. Nutrition education program.

Sec. 7113. Continuing animal health and disease research programs.

Sec. 7114. Carryover of funds for extension at 1890 land-grant colleges, including Tuskegee University.

Sec. 7115. Extension and agricultural research at 1890 land-grant colleges, including Tuskegee University.

Sec. 7116. Reports on disbursement of funds for agricultural research and extension at 1862 and 1890 land-grant colleges, including Tuskegee University.

Sec. 7117. Scholarships for students at 1890 institutions.

Sec. 7118. Grants to upgrade agricultural and food sciences facilities at 1890 land-grant colleges, including Tuskegee University.

Sec. 7119. Grants to upgrade agriculture and food sciences facilities and equipment at insular area land-grant institutions.

Sec. 7120. New Beginning for Tribal Students.

Sec. 7121. Hispanic-serving institutions.

Sec. 7122. Binational agricultural research and development.

Sec. 7123. Partnerships to build capacity in international agricultural research, extension, and teaching.

Sec. 7124. Competitive grants for international agricultural science and education programs.

Sec. 7125. Limitation on indirect costs for agricultural research, education, and extension programs.

Sec. 7126. Research equipment grants.

Sec. 7127. University research.

Sec. 7128. Extension service.

Sec. 7129. Supplemental and alternative crops; hemp.

Sec. 7130. New Era Rural Technology program.

Sec. 7131. Capacity building grants for NLGCA Institutions.

Sec. 7132. Agriculture advanced research and development authority pilot.

Sec. 7133. Aquaculture assistance programs.

Sec. 7134. Rangeland research programs.

Sec. 7135. Special authorization for biosecurity planning and response.

Sec. 7136. Distance education and resident instruction grants program for insular area institutions of higher education.

Subtitle B—Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990

Sec. 7201. Best utilization of biological applications.

Sec. 7202. Integrated management systems.

Sec. 7203. Sustainable agriculture technology development and transfer program.

Sec. 7204. National training program.

Sec. 7205. National strategic germplasm and cultivar collection assessment and utilization plan.

Sec. 7206. National Genetics Resources Program.

Sec. 7207. National Agricultural Weather Information System.

Sec. 7208. Agricultural genome to phenome initiative.

Sec. 7209. High-priority research and extension initiatives.

Sec. 7210. Organic agriculture research and extension initiative.

Sec. 7211. Farm business management.

Sec. 7212. Urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production research, education, and extension initiative.

Sec. 7213. Centers of excellence at 1890 Institutions.

Sec. 7214. Clarification of veteran eligibility for assistive technology program for farmers with disabilities.

Sec. 7215. National Rural Information Center Clearinghouse.

Subtitle C—Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998

Sec. 7301. National food safety training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance program.

Sec. 7302. Integrated research, education, and extension competitive grants program.

Sec. 7303. Support for research regarding diseases of wheat, triticale, and barley caused by Fusarium graminearum or by Tilletia indica.

Sec. 7304. Grants for youth organizations.

Sec. 7305. Specialty crop research initiative.

Sec. 7306. Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database program.

Sec. 7307. Office of Pest Management Policy.

Sec. 7308. Forestry products advanced utilization research.

Subtitle D—Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008

PART I—Agricultural Security

Sec. 7401. Agricultural biosecurity communication center.

Sec. 7402. Assistance to build local capacity in agricultural biosecurity planning, preparation, and response.

Sec. 7403. Research and development of agricultural countermeasures.

Sec. 7404. Agricultural biosecurity grant program.

PART II—Miscellaneous

Sec. 7411. Grazinglands research laboratory.

Sec. 7412. Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network.

Sec. 7413. Natural products research program.

Sec. 7414. Sun grant program.

Subtitle E—Amendments to Other Laws

Sec. 7501. Critical Agricultural Materials Act.

Sec. 7502. Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act of 1994.

Sec. 7503. Research Facilities Act.

Sec. 7504. Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

Sec. 7505. Extension design and demonstration initiative.

Sec. 7506. Repeal of review of agricultural research service.

Sec. 7507. Biomass research and development.

Sec. 7508. Reinstatement of matching requirement for Federal funds used in extension work at the University of the District of Columbia.

Sec. 7509. Renewable Resources Extension Act of 1978.

Sec. 7510. National Aquaculture Act of 1980.

Sec. 7511. Federal agriculture research facilities.

Subtitle F—Other Matters

Sec. 7601. Enhanced use lease authority program.

Sec. 7602. Transfer of administrative jurisdiction over portion of Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland.

Sec. 7603. Foundation for food and agriculture research.

Sec. 7604. Assistance for forestry research under the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Act.

Sec. 7605. Legitimacy of industrial hemp research.

Sec. 7606. Collection of data relating to barley area planted and harvested.

Sec. 7607. Collection of data relating to the size and location of dairy farms.

Sec. 7608. Agriculture innovation center demonstration program.

Sec. 7609. Smith-Lever community extension program.

Sec. 7610. Mechanization and automation for specialty crops.

Sec. 7611. Experienced services program.

Sec. 7612. Simplified plan of work.

Sec. 7613. Review of land-grant time and effort reporting requirements.

Sec. 7614. Matching funds requirement.

TITLE VIII—Forestry

Subtitle A—Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978

Sec. 8101. Support for State assessments and strategies for forest resources.

Sec. 8102. State and private forest landscape-scale restoration program.

Subtitle B—Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Research Act of 1978

Sec. 8201. Repeal of recycling research.

Sec. 8202. Repeal of forestry student grant program.

Subtitle C—Global Climate Change Prevention Act of 1990

Sec. 8301. Repeals relating to biomass.

Subtitle D—Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003

Sec. 8401. Promoting cross-boundary wildfire mitigation.

Sec. 8402. Authorization of appropriations for hazardous fuel reduction on Federal land.

Sec. 8403. Repeal of biomass commercial utilization grant program.

Sec. 8404. Water Source Protection Program.

Sec. 8405. Watershed Condition Framework.

Sec. 8406. Authorization of appropriations to combat insect infestations and related diseases.

Sec. 8407. Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 amendments.

Sec. 8408. Authorization of appropriations for designation of treatment areas.

Subtitle E—Repeal or reauthorization of miscellaneous forestry programs

Sec. 8501. Repeal of revision of strategic plan for forest inventory and analysis.

Sec. 8502. Semiarid agroforestry research center.

Sec. 8503. National Forest Foundation Act.

Sec. 8504. Conveyance of Forest Service administrative sites.

Subtitle F—Forest management

Sec. 8601. Definition of National Forest System.

PART I—Expedited environmental analysis and availability of categorical exclusions to expedite forest management activities

Sec. 8611. Categorical exclusion for greater sage-grouse and mule deer habitat.

PART II—Miscellaneous forest management activities

Sec. 8621. Additional authority for sale or exchange of small parcels of National Forest System land.

Sec. 8622. Forest Service participation in ACES program.

Sec. 8623. Authorization for lease of Forest Service sites.

Sec. 8624. Good neighbor authority.

Sec. 8625. Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest land adjustment.

Sec. 8626. Tennessee wilderness.

Sec. 8627. Kisatchie National Forest land conveyance.

Sec. 8628. Purchase of Natural Resources Conservation Service property, Riverside County, California.

Sec. 8629. Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.

Sec. 8630. Utility infrastructure rights-of-way vegetation management pilot program.

Sec. 8631. Okhissa Lake rural economic development land conveyance.

Sec. 8632. Remote sensing technologies.

PART III—Timber innovation

Sec. 8641. Definitions.

Sec. 8642. Clarification of research and development program for wood building construction.

Sec. 8643. Wood innovation grant program.

Sec. 8644. Community wood energy and wood innovation program.

Subtitle G—Other matters

Sec. 8701. Rural revitalization technologies.

Sec. 8702. Resource Advisory Committees.

Sec. 8703. Tribal forest management demonstration project.

Sec. 8704. Technical corrections.

Sec. 8705. Streamlining the Forest Service process for consideration of communications facility location applications.

Sec. 8706. Report on wildfire, insect infestation, and disease prevention on Federal land.

Sec. 8707. West Fork Fire Station.

Sec. 8708. Competitive forestry, natural resources, and environmental grants program.

TITLE IX—Energy

Sec. 9001. Definitions.

Sec. 9002. Biobased markets program.

Sec. 9003. Biorefinery assistance.

Sec. 9004. Repowering assistance program.

Sec. 9005. Bioenergy program for advanced biofuels.

Sec. 9006. Biodiesel fuel education program.

Sec. 9007. Rural Energy for America Program.

Sec. 9008. Rural Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative.

Sec. 9009. Feedstock flexibility.

Sec. 9010. Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

Sec. 9011. Carbon utilization and biogas education program.

TITLE X—Horticulture

Sec. 10101. Specialty crops market news allocation.

Sec. 10102. Local agriculture market program.

Sec. 10103. Organic production and market data initiatives.

Sec. 10104. Organic certification.

Sec. 10105. National organic certification cost-share program.

Sec. 10106. Food safety education initiatives.

Sec. 10107. Specialty crop block grants.

Sec. 10108. Amendments to the Plant Variety Protection Act.

Sec. 10109. Multiple crop and pesticide use survey.

Sec. 10110. Report on the arrival in the United States of forest pests through restrictions on the importation of certain plants for planting.

Sec. 10111. Report on plant biostimulants.

Sec. 10112. Clarification of use of funds for technical assistance.

Sec. 10113. Hemp production.

Sec. 10114. Interstate commerce.

Sec. 10115. FIFRA interagency working group.

Sec. 10116. Study on methyl bromide use in response to an emergency event.

TITLE XI—Crop Insurance

Sec. 11101. Definitions.

Sec. 11102. Data collection.

Sec. 11103. Sharing of records.

Sec. 11104. Use of resources.

Sec. 11105. Specialty crops.

Sec. 11106. Insurance period.

Sec. 11107. Cover crops.

Sec. 11108. Underserved producers.

Sec. 11109. Treatment of forage and grazing.

Sec. 11110. Administrative basic fee.

Sec. 11111. Enterprise units.

Sec. 11112. Continued authority.

Sec. 11113. Submission of policies and materials to board.

Sec. 11114. Crop production on native sod.

Sec. 11115. Use of national agricultural statistics service data to combat waste, fraud, and abuse.

Sec. 11116. Submission of information to corporation.

Sec. 11117. Continuing education for loss adjusters and agents.

Sec. 11118. Program administration.

Sec. 11119. Agricultural commodity.

Sec. 11120. Maintenance of policies.

Sec. 11121. Reimbursement of research, development, and maintenance costs.

Sec. 11122. Research and development authority.

Sec. 11123. Funding for research and development.

Sec. 11124. Technical amendment to pilot programs.

Sec. 11125. Education and risk management assistance.

Sec. 11126. Repeal of cropland report annual updates.

TITLE XII—Miscellaneous

Subtitle A—Livestock

Sec. 12101. Animal disease prevention and management.

Sec. 12102. Sheep production and marketing grant program.

Sec. 12103. Feasibility study on livestock dealer statutory trust.

Sec. 12104. Definition of livestock.

Sec. 12105. National Aquatic Animal Health Plan.

Sec. 12106. Veterinary training.

Sec. 12107. Report on FSIS guidance and outreach to small meat processors.

Sec. 12108. Regional Cattle and Carcass Grading Correlation and Training Centers.

Subtitle B—Agriculture and Food Defense

Sec. 12201. Repeal of Office of Homeland Security.

Sec. 12202. Office of Homeland Security.

Sec. 12203. Agriculture and food defense.

Sec. 12204. Biological agents and toxins list.

Sec. 12205. Authorization of appropriations.

Subtitle C—Historically Underserved Producers

Sec. 12301. Farming opportunities training and outreach.

Sec. 12302. Urban agriculture.

Sec. 12303. Tribal Advisory Committee.

Sec. 12304. Beginning farmer and rancher coordination.

Sec. 12305. Agricultural youth organization coordinator.

Sec. 12306. Availability of Department of Agriculture programs for veteran farmers and ranchers.

Subtitle D—Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 amendments

Sec. 12401. Office of Congressional Relations and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Sec. 12402. Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison.

Sec. 12403. Civil rights analyses.

Sec. 12404. Farm Service Agency.

Sec. 12405. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation.

Sec. 12406. Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

Sec. 12407. Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development.

Sec. 12408. Administrator of the Rural Utilities Service.

Sec. 12409. Rural Health Liaison.

Sec. 12410. Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Sec. 12411. Office of the Chief Scientist.

Sec. 12412. Appointment of national appeals division hearing officers.

Sec. 12413. Trade and foreign agricultural affairs.

Sec. 12414. Repeals.

Sec. 12415. Technical corrections.

Sec. 12416. Termination of authority.

Subtitle E—Other Miscellaneous Provisions

PART I—Miscellaneous agriculture provisions

Sec. 12501. Acer access and development program.

Sec. 12502. Protecting animals with shelter.

Sec. 12503. Marketing orders.

Sec. 12504. Establishment of food loss and waste reduction liaison.

Sec. 12505. Report on business centers.

Sec. 12506. Report on personnel.

Sec. 12507. Report on absent landlords.

Sec. 12508. Century farms program.

Sec. 12509. Report on importation of live dogs.

Sec. 12510. Tribal Promise Zones.

Sec. 12511. Precision agriculture connectivity.

Sec. 12512. Improvements to United States Drought Monitor.

Sec. 12513. Dairy business innovation initiatives.

Sec. 12514. Report on funding for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and other extension programs.

Sec. 12515. Prohibition on slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption.

Sec. 12516. Labeling exemption for single ingredient foods and products.

Sec. 12517. South Carolina inclusion in Virginia/Carolina peanut producing region.

Sec. 12518. Forest Service hire authority.

Sec. 12519. Conversion authority.

Sec. 12520. Authorization of protection operations for the Secretary of Agriculture and others.

PART II—National Oilheat Research Alliance

Sec. 12531. National oilheat research alliance.

Subtitle F—General Provisions

Sec. 12601. Baiting of migratory game birds.

Sec. 12602. Pima agriculture cotton trust fund.

Sec. 12603. Agriculture wool apparel manufacturers trust fund.

Sec. 12604. Wool research and promotion.

Sec. 12605. Emergency Citrus Disease Research and Development Trust Fund.

Sec. 12606. Extension of merchandise processing fees.

Sec. 12607. Reports on land access and farmland ownership data collection.

Sec. 12608. Reauthorization of rural emergency medical services training and equipment assistance program.

Sec. 12609. Commission on Farm Transitions—Needs for 2050.

Sec. 12610. Exceptions under United States Grain Standards Act.

Sec. 12611. Conference report requirement threshold.

Sec. 12612. National agriculture imagery program.

Sec. 12613. Report on inclusion of natural stone products in Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996.

Sec. 12614. Establishment of food access liaison.

Sec. 12615. Eligibility for operators on heirs property land to obtain a farm number.

Sec. 12616. Extending prohibition on animal fighting to the territories.

Sec. 12617. Exemption of exportation of certain echinoderms from permission and licensing requirements.

Sec. 12618. Data on conservation practices.

Sec. 12619. Conforming changes to Controlled Substances Act.

2.

Definition of Secretary

In this Act, the term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.

I

Commodities

A

Commodity Policy

1101.

Definition of effective reference price

Section 1111 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9011) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (8) through (25) as paragraphs (9) through (26), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting after paragraph (7) the following:

(8)

Effective reference price

The term effective reference price, with respect to a covered commodity for a crop year, means the lesser of the following:

(A)

An amount equal to 115 percent of the reference price for such covered commodity.

(B)

An amount equal to the greater of—

(i)

the reference price for such covered commodity; or

(ii)

85 percent of the average of the marketing year average price of the covered commodity for the most recent 5 crop years, excluding each of the crop years with the highest and lowest marketing year average price.

.

1102.

Base acres

(a)

Technical corrections

Section 1112(c)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9012(c)(2)) is amended by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following:

(A)

Any acreage on the farm enrolled in—

(i)

the conservation reserve program established under subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831 et seq.); or

(ii)

a wetland reserve easement under section 1265C of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865c).

.

(b)

Reduction in base acres

Section 1112(d) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9012(d)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Treatment of base acres on farms entirely planted to grass or pasture

(A)

In general

In the case of a farm on which all of the cropland was planted to grass or pasture (including cropland that was idle or fallow), as determined by the Secretary, during the period beginning on January 1, 2009, and ending on December 31, 2017, the Secretary shall maintain all base acres and payment yields for the covered commodities on the farm, except that no payment shall be made with respect to those base acres under section 1116 or 1117 for the 2019 through 2023 crop years.

(B)

Ineligibility

The producers on a farm for which all of the base acres are maintained under subparagraph (A) shall be ineligible for the option to change the election applicable to the producers on the farm under section 1115(h).

(4)

Prohibition on reconstitution of farm

The Secretary shall ensure that producers on a farm do not reconstitute the farm to void or change the treatment of base acres under this section.

.

1103.

Payment yields

(a)

Treatment of designated oilseeds

Section 1113(b) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9013(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking designated oilseeds and inserting oilseeds designated before the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018;

(2)

in paragraphs (2) and (3), by striking a designated oilseed each place it appears and inserting an oilseed designated before the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Treatment of oilseeds designated after certain date

In the case of oilseeds designated on or after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the payment yield shall be equal to 90 percent of the average of the yield per planted acre for the most recent 5 crop years, as determined by the Secretary, excluding any crop year in which the acreage planted to the covered commodity was zero.

.

(b)

Single opportunity to update yields

Section 1113 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9013) is amended by striking subsection (d) and inserting the following:

(d)

Single Opportunity to Update Yields

(1)

Election to update

At the sole discretion of the owner of a farm, the owner of a farm shall have a 1-time opportunity to update, on a covered-commodity-by-covered-commodity basis, the payment yield that would otherwise be used in calculating any price loss coverage payment for each covered commodity on the farm for which the election is made.

(2)

Method of updating yields for covered commodities

If the owner of a farm elects to update yields under paragraph (1), the payment yield for a covered commodity on the farm, for the purpose of calculating price loss coverage payments only, shall be equal to the product obtained by multiplying—

(A)

90 percent;

(B)

the average of the yield per planted acre for the crop of covered commodities on the farm for the 2013 through 2017 crop years, as determined by the Secretary, excluding any crop year in which the acreage planted to the covered commodity was zero; and

(C)

subject to paragraph (3), the ratio obtained by dividing—

(i)

the average of the 2008 through 2012 national average yield per planted acre for the covered commodity, as determined by the Secretary; by

(ii)

the average of the 2013 through 2017 national average yield per planted acre for the covered commodity, as determined by the Secretary.

(3)

Limitation

In no case shall the ratio obtained under paragraph (2)(C) be less than 90 percent or greater than 100 percent.

(4)

Use of county average yield

For the purposes of determining the average yield per planted acre under paragraph (2)(B), if the yield per planted acre for a crop of a covered commodity for a farm for any of the crop years described in that subparagraph was less than 75 percent of the average of county yields for those crop years for that commodity, the Secretary shall assign a yield for that crop year equal to 75 percent of the average of the 2013 through 2017 county yield for the covered commodity.

(5)

Upland cotton conversion

In the case of seed cotton, for purposes of determining the average of the yield per planted acre under this subsection, the average yield for seed cotton per planted acre shall be equal to 2.4 times the average yield for upland cotton per planted acre.

(6)

Time for election

An election under this subsection shall be made at a time and manner so as to be in effect beginning with the 2020 crop year, as determined by the Secretary.

.

1104.

Payment acres

Section 1114 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9014) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (d)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by inserting , unless the sum of the base acres on the farm, when combined with the base acres of other farms in which the producer has an interest, is more than 10 acres before the period at the end; and

(B)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A), by striking or at the end;

(ii)

in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(iii)

by adding at the end the following:

(C)

a beginning farmer or rancher (as defined in subsection (a) of section 2501 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279)); or

(D)

a veteran farmer or rancher (as defined in subsection (a) of section 2501 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279)).

; and

(2)

in subsection (e), by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Effect of reduction

For each crop year for which fruits, vegetables (other than mung beans and pulse crops), or wild rice are planted to base acres on a farm for which a reduction in payment acres is made under this subsection, the Secretary shall consider such base acres to be planted, or prevented from being planted, to a covered commodity for purposes of any adjustment or reduction of base acres for the farm under section 1112.

.

1105.

Producer election

Section 1115 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9015) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking Except as provided in subsection (g), for the 2014 through 2018 crop years and inserting For the 2014 through 2018 crop years (except as provided in subsection (g)) and for the 2019 through 2023 crop years (subject to subsection (h));

(2)

in subsection (b), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking subsection (a), the producers on a farm that elect under paragraph (2) of such subsection to obtain agriculture risk coverage under section 1117 and inserting subsection (a) or (h), as applicable, the producers on a farm that elect to obtain agriculture risk coverage;

(3)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by inserting or the 2019 crop year, as applicable after 2014 crop year;

(B)

in paragraph (1), by inserting or the 2019 crop year, as applicable, after 2014 crop year; and

(C)

by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

(2)

subject to subsection (h), the producers on the farm shall be deemed to have elected, as applicable—

(A)

price loss coverage for all covered commodities on the farm for the 2015 through 2018 crop years; and

(B)

the same coverage for each covered commodity on the farm for the 2020 through 2023 crop years as was applicable for the 2015 through 2018 crop years.

;

(4)

in subsection (g)(1), by inserting for the 2018 crop year, before all of the producers; and

(5)

by adding at the end the following:

(h)

Option to change election

(1)

In general

For the 2021 crop year and each crop year thereafter, all of the producers on a farm may change the election under subsection (a), subsection (c), or this subsection, as applicable, to price loss coverage or agriculture risk coverage, as applicable.

(2)

Applicability

An election change under paragraph (1) shall apply to—

(A)

the crop year for which the election change is made; and

(B)

each crop year thereafter until another election change is made under that paragraph.

.

1106.

Price loss coverage

Section 1116 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9016) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(B)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) (as so redesignated)—

(i)

by inserting or (h) after subsection (a); and

(ii)

by striking determines that, for any of the 2014 through 2018 crop years— and inserting “determines that—

(1)

for any of the 2014 through 2018 crop years—

;

(C)

in paragraph (1)(B) (as so redesignated), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; or; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

for any of the 2019 through 2023 crop years—

(A)

the effective price for the covered commodity for the crop year; is less than

(B)

the effective reference price for the covered commodity for the crop year.

;

(2)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as clauses (i) and (ii), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(B)

in the matter preceding clause (i) (as so redesignated), by striking The payment rate and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

(A)

2014 through 2018 crop years

For the 2014 through 2018 crop years, the payment rate

;

(C)

in paragraph (1) (as so designated), by adding at the end the following:

(B)

2019 through 2023 crop years

For the 2019 through 2023 crop years, the payment rate shall be equal to the difference between—

(i)

the effective reference price for the covered commodity; and

(ii)

the effective price determined under subsection (b) for the covered commodity.

; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Announcement

Not later than 30 days after the end of each applicable 12-month marketing year for each covered commodity, the Secretary shall publish the payment rate determined under paragraph (1).

(3)

Insufficient data

In the case of a covered commodity, such as temperate japonica rice, for which the Secretary cannot determine the payment rate for the most recent 12-month marketing year by the date described in paragraph (2) due to insufficient reporting of timely pricing data by 1 or more nongovernmental entities, including a marketing cooperative for the covered commodity, the Secretary shall publish the payment rate as soon as practicable after the marketing year data are made available.

; and

(3)

by striking subsection (g) and inserting the following:

(g)

Reference Price for Temperate Japonica Rice

In order to reflect price premiums, the Secretary shall provide a reference price with respect to temperate japonica rice in an amount equal to the amount established under subparagraph (F) of section 1111(19), as adjusted by paragraph (8) of such section, multiplied by the ratio obtained by dividing—

(1)

the simple average of the marketing year average price of medium grain rice from the 2012 through 2016 crop years; by

(2)

the simple average of the marketing year average price of all rice from the 2012 through 2016 crop years.

.

1107.

Agriculture risk coverage

Section 1117 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9017) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), in the matter preceding paragraph (1)—

(A)

by inserting (beginning with the 2019 crop year, based on the physical location of the farm) after payments; and

(B)

by inserting or the 2019 through 2023 crop years, as applicable after 2014 through 2018 crop years;

(2)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A), by striking paragraph (4) and inserting paragraphs (4) and (5); and

(ii)

in subparagraph (B), by striking (5) and inserting (6);

(B)

in paragraph (3)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A)(ii), by striking (5) and inserting (6); and

(ii)

in subparagraph (C), by striking 2018 and inserting 2023;

(C)

in paragraph (4)—

(i)

by striking If and inserting the following:

(A)

2014 through 2018 crop years

Effective for the 2014 through 2018 crop years, if

; and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

2019 through 2023 crop years

Effective for the 2019 through 2023 crop years, if the yield per planted acre for the covered commodity or historical county yield per planted acre for the covered commodity for any of the 5 most recent crop years, as determined by the Secretary, is less than 80 percent of the transitional yield, as determined by the Secretary, the amounts used for any of those years in paragraph (2)(A) or (3)(A)(i) shall be 80 percent of the transitional yield.

;

(D)

by redesignating paragraph (5) as paragraph (6);

(E)

by inserting after paragraph (4) the following:

(5)

Trend-adjusted yield

The Secretary shall calculate and use a trend-adjusted yield factor to adjust the yield determined under paragraph (2)(A) and subsection (b)(1)(A), taking into consideration, but not exceeding, the trend-adjusted yield factor that is used to increase yield history under the endorsement under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) for that crop and county.

; and

(F)

in paragraph (6) (as so redesignated)—

(i)

by striking Reference price.—If the national average market price and inserting the following: “Low national average market price.—

(A)

Reference price

For the 2014 through 2018 crop years, if the national average market price

; and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

Effective reference price

For the 2019 through 2023 crop years, if the national average market price received by producers during the 12-month marketing year for any of the 5 most recent crop years is lower than the effective reference price for the covered commodity, the Secretary shall use the effective reference price for any of those years for the amounts in paragraph (2)(B) or (3)(A)(ii).

;

(3)

in subsection (d)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as clauses (i) and (ii), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(B)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(C)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) (as so redesignated), by striking The payment and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

The payment

; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Announcement

Not later than 30 days after the end of each applicable 12-month marketing year for each covered commodity, the Secretary shall publish the payment rate determined under paragraph (1) for each county.

;

(4)

in subsection (e), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking 2018 and inserting 2023;

(5)

in subsection (g)—

(A)

in paragraph (2), by striking to the maximum extent practicable,;

(B)

in paragraph (3), by striking and after the semicolon at the end;

(C)

in paragraph (4)—

(i)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by inserting effective for the 2014 through 2018 crop years, before in the case of; and

(ii)

in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

effective for the 2019 through 2023 crop years, in the case of county coverage, assign an actual or benchmark county yield for each planted acre for the crop year for the covered commodity—

(A)

for a county for which county data collected by the Risk Management Agency are sufficient for the Secretary to offer a county-wide insurance product, using the actual average county yield determined by the Risk Management Agency; or

(B)

for a county not described in subparagraph (A), using—

(i)

other sources of yield information, as determined by the Secretary; or

(ii)

the yield history of representative farms in the State, region, or crop reporting district, as determined by the Secretary.

; and

(6)

by adding at the end the following:

(h)

Publications

(1)

County guarantee

(A)

In general

For each crop year for a covered commodity, the Secretary shall publish information describing, for that crop year for the covered commodity in each county—

(i)

the agriculture risk coverage guarantee for county coverage determined under subsection (c)(1);

(ii)

the average historical county yield determined under subsection (c)(2)(A); and

(iii)

the national average market price determined under subsection (c)(2)(B).

(B)

Timing

(i)

In general

Except as provided in clauses (ii) and (iii), not later than 30 days after the end of each applicable 12-month marketing year, the Secretary shall publish the information described in subparagraph (A).

(ii)

Insufficient data

In the case of a covered commodity, such as temperate japonica rice, for which the Secretary cannot determine the national average market price for the most recent 12-month marketing year by the date described in clause (i) due to insufficient reporting of timely pricing data by 1 or more nongovernmental entities, including a marketing cooperative for the covered commodity, as soon as practicable after the pricing data are made available, the Secretary shall publish information describing—

(I)

the agriculture risk coverage guarantee under subparagraph (A)(i); and

(II)

the national average market price under subparagraph (A)(iii).

(iii)

Transition

Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the Secretary shall publish the information described in clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A) for the 2018 crop year.

(2)

Actual average county yield

As soon as practicable after each crop year, the Secretary shall determine and publish each actual average county yield for each covered commodity, as determined under subsection (b)(1)(A).

(3)

Data sources for county yields

For the 2018 crop year and each crop year thereafter, the Secretary shall make publicly available information describing, for the most recent crop year—

(A)

the sources of data used to calculate county yields under subsection (c)(2)(A) for each covered commodity—

(i)

by county; and

(ii)

nationally; and

(B)

the number and outcome of occurrences in which the Farm Service Agency reviewed, changed, or determined not to change a source of data used to calculate county yields under subsection (c)(2)(A).

(i)

Administrative units

(1)

In general

For purposes of agriculture risk coverage payments in the case of county coverage, a county may be divided into not greater than 2 administrative units in accordance with this subsection.

(2)

Eligible counties

A county that may be divided into administrative units under this subsection is a county that—

(A)

is larger than 1,400 square miles; and

(B)

contains more than 190,000 base acres.

(3)

Elections

Before making any agriculture risk coverage payments for the 2019 crop year, the Farm Service Agency State committee, in consultation with the Farm Service Agency county or area committee of a county described in paragraph (2), may make a 1-time election to divide the county into administrative units under this subsection along a boundary that better reflects differences in weather patterns, soil types, or other factors.

(4)

Limitation

The Secretary shall—

(A)

limit the number of counties that may be divided into administrative units under paragraph (3) to 25 counties; and

(B)

give preference to the division of counties that have greater variation in climate, soils, and expected productivity between the proposed administrative units.

(5)

Administration

For purposes of providing agriculture risk coverage payments in the case of county coverage, the Secretary shall consider an administrative unit elected under paragraph (3) to be a county for the 2019 through 2023 crop years.

.

1108.

Repeal of transition assistance for producers of upland cotton

Section 1119 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9019) is repealed.

B

Marketing Loans

1201.

Extensions

(a)

In general

Section 1201(b)(1) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9031(b)(1)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(b)

Repayment

Section 1204 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9034) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (e)(2)(B), in the matter preceding clause (i), by striking 2019and inserting 2024; and

(2)

in subsection (g), by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(c)

Loan deficiency payments

(1)

Extension

Section 1205(a)(2)(B) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9035(a)(2)(B)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(2)

Payments in lieu of LDPs

Section 1206 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9036) is amended in subsections (a) and (d) by striking 2018 each place it appears and inserting 2023.

1202.

Loan rates for nonrecourse marketing assistance loans

(a)

In general

Section 1202 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9032) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a), by striking the subsection heading and inserting 2014 through 2018 crop years;

(2)

by redesignating subsections (b) and (c) as subsections (c) and (d), respectively;

(3)

by inserting after subsection (a) the following:

(b)

2019 through 2023 crop years

For purposes of each of the 2019 through 2023 crop years, the loan rate for a marketing assistance loan under section 1201 for a loan commodity shall be equal to the following:

(1)

In the case of wheat, $3.38 per bushel.

(2)

In the case of corn, $2.20 per bushel.

(3)

In the case of grain sorghum, $2.20 per bushel.

(4)

In the case of barley, $2.50 per bushel.

(5)

In the case of oats, $2.00 per bushel.

(6)
(A)

Subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), in the case of base quality of upland cotton, the simple average of the adjusted prevailing world price for the 2 immediately preceding marketing years, as determined by the Secretary and announced October 1 preceding the next domestic planting.

(B)

Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the loan rate determined under subparagraph (A) may not equal less than an amount equal to 98 percent of the loan rate for base quality of upland cotton for the preceding year.

(C)

The loan rate determined under subparagraph (A) may not be equal to an amount—

(i)

less than $0.45 per pound; or

(ii)

more than $0.52 per pound.

(7)

In the case of extra long staple cotton, $0.95 per pound.

(8)

In the case of long grain rice, $7.00 per hundredweight.

(9)

In the case of medium grain rice, $7.00 per hundredweight.

(10)

In the case of soybeans, $6.20 per bushel.

(11)

In the case of other oilseeds, $10.09 per hundredweight for each of the following kinds of oilseeds:

(A)

Sunflower seed.

(B)

Rapeseed.

(C)

Canola.

(D)

Safflower.

(E)

Flaxseed.

(F)

Mustard seed.

(G)

Crambe.

(H)

Sesame seed.

(I)

Other oilseeds designated by the Secretary.

(12)

In the case of dry peas, $6.15 per hundredweight.

(13)

In the case of lentils, $13.00 per hundredweight.

(14)

In the case of small chickpeas, $10.00 per hundredweight.

(15)

In the case of large chickpeas, $14.00 per hundredweight.

(16)

In the case of graded wool, $1.15 per pound.

(17)

In the case of nongraded wool, $0.40 per pound.

(18)

In the case of mohair, $4.20 per pound.

(19)

In the case of honey, $0.69 per pound.

(20)

In the case of peanuts, $355 per ton.

; and

(4)

in subsection (c) (as so redesignated), by striking subsection (a)(11) and inserting subsections (a)(11) and (b)(11).

(b)

Conforming amendment

Section 1204(h)(1) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9034(h)(1)) is amended by striking section 1202(a)(20) and inserting subsection (a)(20) or (b)(20), as applicable, of section 1202.

1203.

Economic adjustment assistance for textile mills

(a)

2008 authority

Section 1207 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 8737) is amended by striking subsection (c).

(b)

2014 authority

Section 1207(c) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9037(c)) is amended by striking the subsection heading and inserting Economic adjustment assistance for textile mills.

1204.

Special competitive provisions for extra long staple cotton

(a)

In general

Section 1208(a) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9038(a)) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking 2019 and inserting 2024.

(b)

Payments under program; trigger

Section 1208(b)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9038(b)(2)) is amended by striking 134 percent and inserting 113 percent.

1205.

Availability of recourse loans

(a)

In general

Section 1209 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9039) is amended in subsections (a)(2) and (b) by striking 2018 each place it appears and inserting 2023.

(b)

Recourse loans available for contaminated commodities

Section 1209 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9039) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d); and

(2)

by inserting after subsection (b) the following:

(c)

Recourse loans available for contaminated commodities

In the case of a loan commodity that is ineligible for 100 percent of the nonrecourse marketing loan rate in the county due to a determination that the commodity is contaminated yet still merchantable, for each of the 2019 through 2023 crops of such loan commodity, the Secretary shall make available recourse commodity loans, at the rate provided under section 1202, on any production.

.

C

Sugar

1301.

Sugar policy

(a)

Sugar program

(1)

Sugarcane

Section 156(a) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7272(a)) is amended—

(A)

in paragraph (3), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in paragraph (4), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

19.75 cents per pound for raw cane sugar for each of the 2019 through 2023 crop years.

.

(2)

Sugar beets

Section 156(b)(2) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7272(b)(2)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(3)

Effective period

Section 156(i) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7272(i)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(b)

Flexible Marketing Allotments for Sugar

(1)

Sugar estimates

Section 359b(a)(1) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 (7 U.S.C. 1359bb(a)(1)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(2)

Effective period

Section 359l(a) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 (7 U.S.C. 1359ll(a)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

D

Dairy Margin Coverage and Other Dairy Related Provisions

1401.

Dairy margin coverage

(a)

Review of data used in calculation of average feed cost

Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report evaluating the extent to which the average cost of feed used by a dairy operation to produce a hundredweight of milk calculated by the Secretary as required by section 1402(a) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9052(a)) is representative of actual dairy feed costs.

(b)

Corn silage report

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report detailing the costs incurred by dairy operations in the use of corn silage as feed, and the difference between the feed cost of corn silage and the feed cost of corn.

(c)

Collection of alfalfa hay data

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary, acting through the National Agricultural Statistics Service, shall revise monthly price survey reports to include prices for high-quality alfalfa hay in the top five milk producing States, as measured by volume of milk produced during the previous month.

(d)

Registration of multiproducer dairy operations

Section 1404(b) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9054(b)) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (5); and

(2)

by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

(3)

Election period for 2019 calendar year

For the 2019 calendar year, the Secretary shall—

(A)

open the election period not later than 60 days after the effective date described in section 1401(m) of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018; and

(B)

hold that election period open for not less than 90 days.

(4)

Treatment of multiproducer dairy operation

(A)

In general

If a participating dairy operation is operated by more than 1 dairy producer, the dairy producers of the dairy operation who elect to participate shall be treated as a single dairy operation for purposes of participating in dairy margin coverage.

(B)

Rule of construction

Subparagraph (A) shall not be construed to allow a producer to adjust the proportion of their share covered under tier I or tier II premiums from the proportion covered for the operation.

.

(e)

Relation to livestock gross margin for dairy program

(1)

In general

Section 1404 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9054) is amended by striking subsection (d).

(2)

Retroactive program option

Section 1404(b)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9054(b)(2)) is amended—

(A)

by striking The Secretary and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

The Secretary

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

Retroactive program option

In the case of a dairy operation that, by operation of subsection (d) (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018), was ineligible to participate in the margin protection program for any part of calendar year 2018, the Secretary shall establish a new election period for that calendar year that ends on a date that is not less than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and the Secretary determines is necessary for dairy operations to make new elections to participate in the margin protection program (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) for that calendar year, including dairy operations that elected to participate in the livestock gross margin for dairy program under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) before the date of enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (Public Law 115–123).

.

(f)

Production history of participating dairy operators

(1)

Adjustment

Section 1405 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9055) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (a)—

(i)

in paragraph (2), by striking In subsequent years and inserting In the subsequent calendar years ending before January 1, 2019; and

(ii)

in paragraph (3), by inserting , as applicable after paragraph (2); and

(B)

in subsection (b)—

(i)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs (A) and (B), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(ii)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) (as so redesignated), by striking In the case and inserting the following:

(1)

Dairy operations with less than 1 year of production history

In the case

; and

(iii)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Dairy operations with 1 year or more of production history

In the case of a participating dairy operation that was not in operation prior to January 1, 2014, that has not established a production history, and that has been in operation for equal to or longer than 1 year, the participating dairy operation shall elect the annual milk marketings during any 1 calendar year to determine the production history of the participating dairy operation.

(3)

Adjustment

The Secretary shall adjust the production history of a participating dairy operation determined under paragraph (1) or (2) to reflect any increase or decrease in the national average milk production relative to calendar year 2017.

.

(2)

Limitation on changes to business structure

Section 1405 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9055) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(d)

Limitation on changes to business structure

The Secretary may not make dairy margin coverage payments to a participating dairy operation if the Secretary determines that the participating dairy operation has reorganized the structure of such operation solely for the purpose of qualifying as a new operation under subsection (b).

.

(g)

Coverage level threshold and coverage percentage

Section 1406 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9056) is amended by striking subsection (a) and inserting the following:

(a)

Coverage level threshold and coverage percentage

(1)

Coverage level threshold

(A)

In general

For purposes of receiving dairy margin coverage payments for a month, a participating dairy operation shall annually elect a coverage level threshold that is equal to $4.00, $4.50, $5.00, $5.50, $6.00, $6.50, $7.00, $7.50, $8.00, $8.50, $9.00, or $9.50.

(B)

Applicability

Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the coverage level threshold elected under subparagraph (A) shall apply to the covered production elected by the participating dairy operation under paragraph (2).

(C)

Second coverage election for tier II

In the case of a participating dairy operation that elects a coverage level threshold of $8.50, $9.00, or $9.50 under subparagraph (A)—

(i)

that coverage level threshold shall apply to the first 5,000,000 pounds of milk marketings included in the covered production elected by the participating dairy operation; and

(ii)

the participating dairy operation shall elect a coverage level threshold that is equal to $4.00, $4.50, $5.00, $5.50, $6.00, $6.50, $7.00, $7.50, or $8.00 to apply to milk marketings in excess of 5,000,000 pounds included in the covered production elected by the participating dairy operation.

(2)

Coverage percentage

For purposes of receiving dairy margin coverage payments for a month, a participating dairy operation shall annually elect a percentage of coverage, in 5-percent increments, not exceeding 95 percent of the production history of the participating dairy operation.

.

(h)

Producer premiums

Section 1407 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9057) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b), by striking paragraphs (2) and (3) and inserting the following:

(2)

Producer premiums

Except as provided in subsection (g), the following annual premiums apply:

Coverage LevelPremium per Cwt.
$4.00None
$4.50$0.0025
$5.00$0.005
$5.50$0.030
$6.00$0.050
$6.50$0.070
$7.00$0.080
$7.50$0.090
$8.00$0.100
$8.50$0.105
$9.00$0.110
$9.50$0.150

; and

(2)

in subsection (c), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

(2)

Producer premiums

Except as provided in subsection (g), the following annual premiums apply:

Coverage LevelPremium per Cwt.
$4.00None
$4.50$0.0025
$5.00$0.005
$5.50$0.100
$6.00$0.310
$6.50$0.650
$7.00$1.107
$7.50$1.413
$8.00$1.813

.

(i)

Repayment of premiums

Section 1407 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9057) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(f)

Repayment of premiums

(1)

In general

Each dairy operation described in paragraph (2) shall be eligible to receive a repayment from the Secretary in an amount equal to the difference between—

(A)

the total amount of premiums paid by the participating dairy operation under this section for each applicable calendar year; and

(B)

the total amount of payments made to the participating dairy operation under section 1406 for that calendar year.

(2)

Eligibility

A dairy operation that is eligible to receive a repayment under paragraph (1) is a dairy operation that—

(A)

participated in the margin protection program, as in effect for any of calendar years 2014 through 2017; and

(B)

submits to the Secretary an application for the repayment at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

(3)

Method of repayment

A dairy operation that is eligible to receive a repayment under paragraph (1) shall elect to receive the repayment—

(A)

in an amount equal to 75 percent of the repayment calculated under that paragraph as credit that may be used by the dairy operation for dairy margin coverage premiums; or

(B)

in an amount equal to 50 percent of the repayment calculated under that paragraph as a direct cash repayment.

(4)

Applicability

Paragraph (1) shall only apply to a calendar year during the period of calendar years 2014 through 2017 for which the amount described in subparagraph (A) of that paragraph is greater than the amount described in subparagraph (B) of that paragraph.

.

(j)

Premium discount

Section 1407 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9057) (as amended by subsection (i)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(g)

Premium discount

The premium per hundredweight specified in the tables contained in subsections (b) and (c) for each coverage level shall be reduced by 25 percent in accordance with the following:

(1)

In general

For each of calendar years 2019 through 2023, for a participating dairy operation that makes a 1-time election of coverage level in a tier and of a percentage of coverage under section 1406(a) for the 5-year period beginning in January 2019.

(2)

New dairy operations

For each applicable calendar year through 2023, for a participating dairy operation that—

(A)

establishes a production history pursuant to section 1405(b); and

(B)

makes a 1-time election of coverage level in a tier and of a percentage of coverage under section 1406(a) for the period beginning with the first available calendar year and ending in December 2023.

(3)

Full participation required

Notwithstanding the annual elections under section 1406(a)—

(A)

a 1-time enrollment under this subsection shall remain in effect for the full duration applicable to a participating dairy operation in accordance with paragraph (1) or (2)(B), as applicable; and

(B)

a participating dairy operation that makes a 1-time enrollment under this subsection and is noncompliant under section 1408 shall be subject to that section.

.

(k)

Conforming amendments related to program name

(1)

Heading

The heading of part I of subtitle D of title I of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79; 128 Stat. 688) is amended to read as follows:

I

Dairy Margin Coverage

.

(2)

Definitions

Section 1401 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9051) is amended—

(A)

by striking paragraphs (5) and (6) and inserting the following new paragraphs:

(5)

Dairy margin coverage

The term dairy margin coverage means the dairy margin coverage program required by section 1403.

(6)

Dairy margin coverage payment

The term dairy margin coverage payment means a payment made to a participating dairy operation under dairy margin coverage pursuant to section 1406.

; and

(B)

in paragraphs (7) and (8), by striking the margin protection program both places it appears and inserting dairy margin coverage.

(3)

Calculation of Actual Dairy Production Margin

Section 1402(b)(1) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9052(b)(1)) is amended in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) by striking the margin protection program and inserting dairy margin coverage.

(4)

Program operation

Section 1403 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9053) is amended—

(A)

by striking the section heading and inserting DAIRY MARGIN COVERAGE;

(B)

by striking Not later than September 1, 2014, the Secretary shall establish and administer a margin protection program and inserting the following:

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall continue to administer a dairy margin coverage program

;

(C)

in subsection (a) (as so designated), by striking margin protection payment both places it appears and inserting dairy margin coverage payment; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

Regulations

Subpart A of part 1430 of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018), shall remain in effect for dairy margin coverage beginning with the 2019 calendar year, except to the extent that the regulations are inconsistent with any provision of this Act.

.

(5)

Participation

Section 1404 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9054) is amended—

(A)

in the section heading, by striking MARGIN PROTECTION PROGRAM and inserting DAIRY MARGIN COVERAGE;

(B)

in subsection (a), by striking the margin protection program to receive margin protection payments and inserting dairy margin coverage to receive dairy margin coverage payments; and

(C)

in subsections (b) and (c), by striking the margin protection program each place it appears and inserting dairy margin coverage.

(6)

Production history

Section 1405 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9055) is amended in subsections (a)(1) and (c) by striking the margin protection program each place it appears and inserting dairy margin coverage.

(7)

Payments

Section 1406 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9056) is amended—

(A)

in the section heading, by striking MARGIN PROTECTION and inserting DAIRY MARGIN COVERAGE;

(B)

by striking margin protection each place it appears and inserting dairy margin coverage; and

(C)

in the heading of subsection (c), by striking Margin Protection.

(8)

Premiums

Section 1407 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9057) is amended—

(A)

in the section heading, by striking MARGIN PROTECTION PROGRAM and inserting DAIRY MARGIN COVERAGE;

(B)

in subsection (a), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking the margin protection program and inserting dairy margin coverage;

(C)

in subsection (d), by striking program and inserting dairy margin coverage; and

(D)

in subsection (e)—

(i)

by striking the margin protection program both places it appears and inserting dairy margin coverage; and

(ii)

in paragraph (2), by striking integrity of the program and inserting integrity of dairy margin coverage.

(9)

Failure to pay administrative fees or premiums

Section 1408 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9058) is amended—

(A)

in subsection (a)(2), by striking margin protection and inserting dairy margin coverage; and

(B)

in subsection (b), by striking the margin protection program and inserting dairy margin coverage.

(10)

Administration and enforcement

Section 1410 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9060) is amended—

(A)

in subsections (a) and (c), by striking the margin protection program each place it appears and inserting dairy margin coverage; and

(B)

in subsection (b), by striking margin protection and inserting dairy margin coverage.

(l)

Duration

Section 1409 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9059) is amended—

(1)

by striking The margin protection program and inserting Dairy margin coverage; and

(2)

by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(m)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall take effect on January 1, 2019.

1402.

Reauthorizations

(a)

Forward pricing

Section 1502(e) of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 8772(e)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking 2018 and inserting 2023; and

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking 2021 and inserting 2026.

(b)

Indemnity program

Section 3 of Public Law 90–484 (7 U.S.C. 4553) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(c)

Promotion and research

Section 113(e)(2) of the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 (7 U.S.C. 4504(e)(2)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

1403.

Class I skim milk price

(a)

Class I skim milk price

Section 8c(5)(A) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (7 U.S.C. 608c(5)(A)), reenacted with amendments by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, is amended by striking Throughout in the third sentence and all that follows through the period at the end of the fourth sentence and inserting Throughout the 2-year period beginning on the effective date of this sentence (and subsequent to such 2-year period unless modified by amendment to the order involved), for purposes of determining prices for milk of the highest use classification, the Class I skim milk price per hundredweight specified in section 1000.50(b) of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), shall be the sum of the adjusted Class I differential specified in section 1000.52 of such title 7 (or successor regulations), plus the adjustment to Class I prices specified in sections 1005.51(b), 1006.51(b), and 1007.51(b) of such title 7 (or successor regulations), plus the simple average of the advanced pricing factors computed in sections 1000.50(q)(1) and 1000.50(q)(2) of such title 7 (or successor regulations), plus $0.74..

(b)

Effective date and implementation

(1)

Effective date

The amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the first day of the first month beginning more than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

(2)

Implementation

Implementation of the amendment made by subsection (a) shall not be subject to any of the following:

(A)

The notice and comment provisions of section 553 of title 5, United States Code.

(B)

The notice and hearing requirements of section 8c(3) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (7 U.S.C. 608c(3)), reenacted with amendments by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937.

(C)

The order amendment requirements of section 8c(17) of that Act (7 U.S.C. 608c(17)).

(D)

A referendum under section 8c(19) of that Act (7 U.S.C. 608c(19)).

1404.

Dairy product donation

(a)

Repeal of dairy product donation program

Section 1431 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9071) is repealed.

(b)

Milk donation program

(1)

In general

Part III of subtitle D of title I of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79; 128 Stat. 695) is amended to read as follows:

III

Milk Donation Program

1431.

Milk donation program

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Eligible dairy organization

The term eligible dairy organization means a dairy farmer (either individually or as part of a cooperative), or a dairy processor, who—

(A)

accounts to a Federal milk marketing order marketwide pool; and

(B)

incurs qualified expenses under subsection (e).

(2)

Eligible distributor

The term eligible distributor means a public or private nonprofit organization that distributes donated eligible milk.

(3)

Eligible milk

The term eligible milk means Class I fluid milk products produced and processed in the United States.

(4)

Eligible partnership

The term eligible partnership means a partnership between an eligible dairy organization and an eligible distributor.

(5)

Participating partnership

The term participating partnership means an eligible partnership for which the Secretary has approved a donation and distribution plan for eligible milk under subsection (c)(2).

(b)

Program required; purposes

Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the Secretary shall establish and administer a milk donation program for the purposes of—

(1)

encouraging the donation of eligible milk;

(2)

providing nutrition assistance to individuals in low-income groups; and

(3)

reducing food waste.

(c)

Donation and distribution plans

(1)

In general

To be eligible to receive reimbursement under subsection (d), an eligible partnership shall submit to the Secretary a donation and distribution plan that—

(A)

describes the process that the eligible partnership will use for the donation, processing, transportation, temporary storage, and distribution of eligible milk;

(B)

includes an estimate of the quantity of eligible milk that the eligible partnership will donate each year, based on—

(i)

preplanned donations; and

(ii)

contingency plans to address unanticipated donations; and

(C)

describes the rate at which the eligible partnership will be reimbursed, which shall be based on a percentage of the limitation described in subsection (e)(2), not to exceed 100 percent.

(2)

Review and approval

Not less frequently than annually, the Secretary shall—

(A)

review donation and distribution plans submitted under paragraph (1); and

(B)

determine whether to approve or disapprove each of those donation and distribution plans.

(d)

Reimbursement

(1)

In general

On receipt of appropriate documentation under paragraph (2), the Secretary shall reimburse an eligible dairy organization that is a member of a participating partnership on a regular basis for qualified expenses described in subsection (e).

(2)

Documentation

(A)

In general

An eligible dairy organization shall submit to the Secretary such documentation as the Secretary may require to demonstrate the qualified expenses described in subsection (e) of the eligible dairy organization.

(B)

Verification

The Secretary may verify the accuracy of documentation submitted under subparagraph (A) by spot checks and audits.

(3)

Retroactive reimbursement

In providing reimbursements under paragraph (1), the Secretary may provide reimbursements for qualified expenses incurred before the date on which the donation and distribution plan for the applicable participating partnership was approved by the Secretary.

(e)

Qualified expenses

(1)

In general

The amount of a reimbursement under subsection (d) shall be an amount equal to the product of—

(A)

the quantity of eligible milk donated by the eligible dairy organization under a donation and distribution plan approved by the Secretary under subsection (c); and

(B)

subject to the limitation under paragraph (2), the rate described in that donation and distribution plan under subsection (c)(1)(C).

(2)

Limitation

Expenses eligible for reimbursement under subsection (d) shall not exceed the value that an eligible dairy organization incurred by accounting to the Federal milk marketing order pool at the difference in the Class I milk value and the lowest classified price for the applicable month (either Class III milk or Class IV milk).

(f)

Preapproval

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall—

(A)

establish a process for an eligible partnership to apply for preapproval of donation and distribution plans under subsection (c); and

(B)

not less frequently than annually, preapprove an amount for qualified expenses described in subsection (e) that the Secretary will allocate for reimbursement under each donation and distribution plan preapproved under subparagraph (A), based on an assessment of—

(i)

the feasibility of the plan; and

(ii)

the extent to which the plan advances the purposes described in subsection (b).

(2)

Preference

In preapproving amounts for reimbursement under paragraph (1)(B), the Secretary shall give preference to eligible partnerships that will provide funding and in-kind contributions in addition to the reimbursements.

(3)

Adjustments

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall adjust or increase amounts preapproved for reimbursement under paragraph (1)(B) based on performance and demand.

(B)

Requests for increase

(i)

In general

The Secretary shall establish a procedure for a participating partnership to request an increase in the amount preapproved for reimbursement under paragraph (1)(B) based on changes in conditions.

(ii)

Interim approval; incremental increase

The Secretary may provide an interim approval of an increase requested under clause (i) and an incremental increase in the amount of reimbursement to the applicable participating partnership to allow time for the Secretary to review the request without interfering with the donation and distribution of eligible milk by the participating partnership.

(g)

Prohibition on resale of products

(1)

In general

An eligible distributor that receives eligible milk donated under this section may not sell the products back into commercial markets.

(2)

Prohibition on future participation

An eligible distributor that the Secretary determines has violated paragraph (1) shall not be eligible for any future participation in the program established under this section.

(h)

Administration

The Secretary shall publicize opportunities to participate in the program established under this section.

(i)

Reviews

The Secretary shall conduct appropriate reviews or audits to ensure the integrity of the program established under this section.

(j)

Funding

Of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall use to carry out this section $9,000,000 for fiscal year 2019, and $5,000,000 for each fiscal year thereafter, to remain available until expended.

.

(2)

Conforming amendment

Section 1401 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9051) is amended, in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking and part III.

E

Supplemental Agricultural Disaster Assistance

1501.

Supplemental agricultural disaster assistance

(a)

Members of Indian tribes

Section 1501(a)(1)(B) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9081(a)(1)(B)) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating clauses (iii) and (iv) as clauses (iv) and (v), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting after clause (ii) the following:

(iii)

an Indian tribe or tribal organization (as those terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304));

.

(b)

Covered livestock losses for livestock indemnity payments

Section 1501(b) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9081(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking or at the end of subparagraph (A);

(B)

in subparagraph (B), by striking cold. and inserting cold, on the condition that in the case of the death loss of unweaned livestock due to that adverse weather, the Secretary may disregard any management practice, vaccination protocol, or lack of vaccination by the eligible producer on a farm; or; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

(C)

disease that, as determined by the Secretary—

(i)

is caused or transmitted by a vector; and

(ii)

is not susceptible to control by vaccination or acceptable management practices.

; and

(2)

in paragraph (4), by striking A payment and inserting Payment reductions.—A payment.

(c)

Emergency assistance for livestock, honey bees, and farm-raised fish

(1)

In general

Section 1501(d)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9081(d)(2)) is amended by inserting , including inspections of cattle tick fever before the period at the end.

(2)

Effective date

The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply to inspections of cattle tick fever conducted on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

(d)

Tree assistance program

Section 1501(e) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9081(e)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (3), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking paragraph (4) and inserting paragraphs (4) and (5); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Payment rate for beginning and veteran producers

Subject to paragraph (4), in the case of a beginning farmer or rancher or a veteran farmer or rancher (as those terms are defined in subsection (a) of section 2501 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279)) that is eligible to receive assistance under this subsection, the Secretary shall provide reimbursement of 75 percent of the costs under subparagraphs (A)(i) and (B) of paragraph (3).

.

(e)

Payment limitation

Section 1501(f)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9081(f)(2)) is amended by striking this section (excluding payments received under subsections (b) and (e)) and inserting subsection (c).

F

Noninsured Crop Assistance

1601.

Noninsured crop assistance program

Section 196 of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7333) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by adding at the end the following:

(C)

Data collection and sharing

The Secretary shall coordinate with the Administrator of the Risk Management Agency on the type and format of data received under the noninsured crop disaster assistance program that—

(i)

best facilitates the use of that data in developing policies or plans of insurance offered under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.); and

(ii)

ensures the availability of that data on a regular basis.

(D)

Coordination

The Secretary shall coordinate between the agencies of the Department that provide programs or services to farmers and ranchers that are potentially eligible for the noninsured crop disaster assistance program under this section—

(i)

to make available coverage under—

(I)

the fee waiver under subsection (k)(2); or

(II)

the premium discount under subsection (l)(3); and

(ii)

to share eligibility information to reduce paperwork and avoid duplication.

;

(B)

in paragraph (2), by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), in this section, the term eligible crop means each commercial crop or other agricultural commodity that is produced for food or fiber (except livestock) for which catastrophic risk protection under subsection (b) of section 508 of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1508) and additional coverage under subsections (c) and (h) of such section are not available or, if such coverage is available, it is only available under a policy that provides coverage for specific intervals based on weather indexes or under a whole farm plan of insurance.

; and

(C)

in paragraph (4)(B)—

(i)

by striking clause (i) and inserting the following:

(i)

In general

(I)

Agricultural Act of 2014

During the first 4 crop years of planting, as determined by the Secretary, native sod acreage that has been tilled for the production of an annual crop during the period beginning on February 8, 2014, and ending on the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 shall be subject to a reduction in benefits under this section as described in this subparagraph.

(II)

Subsequent years

Native sod acreage that has been tilled for the production of an eligible crop after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 shall be subject to a reduction in benefits under this section as described in this subparagraph for not more than any 4 crop years—

(aa)

during the first 10 crop years after the initial tillage; and

(bb)

during which a crop on that acreage is enrolled under subsection (l)(2) or (k).

; and

(ii)

in clause (iii)(I), by striking transitional yield of the producer and inserting county expected yield;

(2)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by striking not later than 30 days and inserting by an appropriate deadline; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Streamlined submission process

The Secretary shall establish a streamlined process for the submission of records and acreage reports under paragraphs (2) and (3) for diverse production systems such as those typical of urban production systems, other small-scale production systems, and direct-to-consumer production systems.

;

(3)

in subsection (d)—

(A)

by redesignating paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) as paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), respectively;

(B)

by inserting before paragraph (2) (as so redesignated) the following:

(1)

the producer’s share of the total acres devoted to the eligible crop; by

; and

(C)

in paragraph (2) (as so redesignated), by striking established yield for the crop and inserting approved yield for the crop, as determined by the Secretary;

(4)

in subsection (e)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by striking farm and inserting approved;

(B)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

in the second sentence—

(I)

by inserting approved before yield; and

(II)

by striking Subject and inserting the following:

(B)

Calculation

Subject

; and

(ii)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (B) (as so designated)—

(I)

by striking yield coverage and inserting an approved yield; and

(II)

by striking The Secretary and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

The Secretary

; and

(C)

in paragraph (3), by striking transitional yield of the producer and inserting county expected yield;

(5)

in subsection (i)(2), by striking exceed $125,000 and inserting the following: “exceed—

(A)

in the case of catastrophic coverage under subsection (c), $125,000; and

(B)

in the case of additional coverage under subsection (l), $300,000

;

(6)

in subsection (k)(1)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A), by striking $250 and inserting $325; and

(B)

in subparagraph (B)—

(i)

by striking $750 and inserting $825; and

(ii)

by striking $1,875 and inserting $1,950; and

(7)

in subsection (l)—

(A)

in paragraph (1)—

(i)

by redesignating subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) as subparagraphs (B), (C), and (D), respectively;

(ii)

by inserting before subparagraph (B) (as so redesignated) the following:

(A)

the producer's share of the total acres devoted to the crop;

; and

(iii)

in subparagraph (C) (as so redesignated), by inserting , contract price, or other premium price (such as a local, organic, or direct market price, as elected by the producer) after price;

(B)

in paragraph (2)(B)(i)—

(i)

in subclause (IV), by striking and at the end;

(ii)

in subclause (V), by striking or at the end and inserting and; and

(iii)

by adding at the end the following:

(VI)

the producer’s share of the crop; or

;

(C)

by striking paragraphs (3) and (5); and

(D)

by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (3).

G

Administration

1701.

Regulations

Section 1601(c)(2) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9091(c)(2)) is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking title and sections 11003 and 11017 and inserting title, sections 11003 and 11017, title I of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and the amendments made by that title, and section 10109 of that Act;

(2)

in subparagraph (A), by adding and at the end;

(3)

in subparagraph (B), by striking ; and and inserting a period; and

(4)

by striking subparagraph (C).

1702.

Suspension of permanent price support authority

Section 1602 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9092) is amended by striking 2018 each place it appears and inserting 2023.

1703.

Payment limitations

(a)

In General

Section 1001 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (7 U.S.C. 1308) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by striking section 1001 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 and inserting section 1111 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9011); and

(B)

in paragraph (2), by inserting first cousin, niece, nephew, after sibling,;

(2)

in subsections (b) and (c), by striking and as marketing loan gains or loan deficiency payments under subtitle B of title I of the Agricultural Act of 2014 each place it appears and inserting of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9016, 9017); and

(3)

in subsection (f), by adding at the end the following:

(9)

Administration of reduction

The Secretary shall apply any order described in section 1614(d)(1) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9097(d)(1)) to payments under sections 1116 and 1117 of that Act (7 U.S.C. 9016, 9017) prior to applying payment limitations under this section.

.

(b)

Application

The amendments made by this section shall apply beginning with the 2019 crop year.

1704.

Adjusted gross income limitations

(a)

Waiver

Section 1001D(b) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (7 U.S.C. 1308–3a(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2)(C), by inserting title II of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, after under; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Waiver

The Secretary may waive the limitation established by paragraph (1) with respect to a payment pursuant to a covered benefit described in paragraph (2)(C), on a case-by-case basis, if the Secretary determines that environmentally sensitive land of special significance would be protected as a result of such waiver.

.

(b)

Conforming amendment

Section 1001D(b)(1) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (7 U.S.C. 1308–3a(b)(1)) is amended by inserting subject to paragraph (3), after of law,.

(c)

Transition

Section 1001D of the Food Security Act of 1985 (7 U.S.C. 1308–3a), as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act, shall apply with respect to the 2018 crop, fiscal, or program year, as appropriate, for each program described in subsection (b)(2) of that section (as so in effect on that day).

1705.

Farm Service Agency accountability

(a)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall establish policies, procedures, and plans to improve program accountability and integrity through targeted and coordinated activities, including utilizing data mining to identify and reduce errors, waste, fraud, and abuse in programs administered by the Farm Service Agency.

(b)

Report

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report describing the progress and results of the activities conducted under subsection (a).

1706.

Implementation

(a)

Maintenance of base acres and payment yields

Section 1614(a) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9097(a)) is amended by inserting , and as adjusted pursuant to sections 1112 and 1113 before the period at the end.

(b)

Streamlining

Section 1614 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9097) is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

(b)

Streamlining

In implementing this title and the amendments made by this title, the Secretary shall—

(1)

continue to reduce administrative burdens and costs to producers by streamlining and reducing paperwork, forms, and other administrative requirements, to ensure that—

(A)

a producer (or an agent of a producer) may report information, electronically (including geospatial data) or conventionally, to the Department of Agriculture, subject to the Secretary—

(i)

establishing reasonable levels of tolerance that reflect the differences in accuracy between measures of common land units and geospatial data; and

(ii)

ensuring that discrepancies that occur within the levels of tolerance established under clause (i) shall not be used to penalize a producer (or an agent of a producer) under any program administered by the Department of Agriculture;

(B)

on the request of a producer (or an agent of a producer), the Department of Agriculture electronically shares with the producer (or agent) in real time and without cost to the producer (or agent) the common land unit data, related farm level data, conservation practices, and other information of the producer through a single Department of Agriculture-wide login;

(C)

not later than September 30, 2020, the Administrator of the Risk Management Agency and the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency shall implement a consistent method for determining crop acreage, acreage yields, farm acreage, property descriptions, and other common informational requirements, including measures of common land units;

(D)

except in the case of misrepresentation, fraud, or scheme and device, no crop insurance agent, approved insurance provider, or employee or contractor of a crop insurance agency or approved insurance provider bears responsibility or liability under the Acreage Crop Reporting and Streamlining Initiative (or any successor or similar initiative) for the eligibility of a producer for a program administered by the Department of Agriculture, not including a policy or plan of insurance offered under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.); and

(E)

on request of a crop insurance agent or approved insurance provider required to deliver policies and plans of insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) the crop insurance agent or approved insurance provider receives, in a timely manner, any information held by the Farm Service Agency that is necessary to ensure effective crop insurance coverage for farmer customers;

(2)

continue to improve coordination, information sharing, and administrative work among the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and other agencies, as determined by the Secretary;

(3)

continue to take advantage of new technologies to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of Department of Agriculture programs to producers, including by developing and making publicly available data standards and security procedures to allow third-party providers to develop applications that use or feed data (including geospatial and precision agriculture data) into the datasets and analyses of the Department of Agriculture; and

(4)

reduce administrative burdens on producers participating in price loss coverage or agriculture risk coverage by offering—

(A)

those producers an option to remotely and electronically sign annual contracts for that coverage; and

(B)

to the maximum extent practicable, an option to sign a multiyear contract for that coverage.

.

(c)

Implementation

Section 1614(c) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9097(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

The Secretary shall make available to the Farm Service Agency to carry out title I of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 and the amendments made by that title $15,500,000.

.

(d)

Loan implementation

Section 1614(d)(1) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9097(d)(1)) is amended by striking “under subtitles” and all that follows through “except” and inserting “under subtitle B or C, under the amendments made by subtitle B or C, or under the amendments made by subtitle B or C of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, except”.

(e)

Deobligation of unliquidated obligations

Section 1614 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9097) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(e)

Deobligation of unliquidated obligations

(1)

In general

Subject to paragraph (3), any payment obligated or otherwise made available by the Secretary under this title on or after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 that is not disbursed to the recipient by the date that is 5 years after the date on which the payment is obligated or otherwise made available shall—

(A)

be deobligated; and

(B)

revert to the Treasury.

(2)

Outstanding payments

(A)

In general

Subject to paragraph (3), any payment obligated or otherwise made available by the Farm Service Agency (or any predecessor agency of the Department of Agriculture) under the laws described in subparagraph (B) before the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, that is not disbursed by the date that is 5 years after the date on which the payment is obligated or otherwise made available shall—

(i)

be deobligated; and

(ii)

revert to the Treasury.

(B)

Laws described

The laws referred to in subparagraph (A) are any of the following:

(i)

This title.

(ii)

Title I of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 8702 et seq.).

(iii)

Title I of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 7901 et seq.).

(iv)

The Agricultural Market Transition Act (7 U.S.C. 7201 et seq.).

(v)

Titles I through XI of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (Public Law 101–624; 104 Stat. 3374) and the amendments made by those titles.

(vi)

Titles I through X of the Food Security Act of 1985 (Public Law 99–198; 99 Stat. 1362) and the amendments made by those titles.

(vii)

Titles I through XI of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 (Public Law 97–98; 95 Stat. 1218) and the amendments made by those titles.

(viii)

Titles I through X of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1977 (Public Law 95–113; 91 Stat. 917) and the amendments made by those titles.

(3)

Waiver

The Secretary may delay the date of the deobligation and reversion under paragraph (1) or (2) of any payment—

(A)

that is the subject of—

(i)

ongoing administrative review or appeal;

(ii)

litigation; or

(iii)

the settlement of an estate; or

(B)

for which the Secretary otherwise determines that the circumstances are such that the delay is equitable.

.

(f)

Report

Section 1614 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9097) (as amended by subsection (e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(f)

Report

Not later than January 1, 2020, and each January 1 thereafter through January 1, 2023, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report that describes the tilled native sod acreage that was subject to a reduction in benefits under section 196(a)(4)(B) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (7 U.S.C. 7333(a)(4)(B) and section 508(o)(2) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1508(o)(2))—

(1)

as of the date of submission of the report; and

(2)

by State and county, relative to the total acres of cropland in the State or county.

.

1707.

Exemption from certain reporting requirements for certain producers

(a)

Definition of exempted producer

In this section, the term exempted producer means an individual or entity that is eligible to participate in—

(1)

a conservation program under title II or a law amended by title II;

(2)

an indemnity or disease control program under the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.) or the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.); or

(3)

a commodity program under title I of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9011 et seq.), excluding the assistance provided to users of cotton under sections 1207(c) and 1208 of that Act (7 U.S.C. 9037(c), 9038).

(b)

Exemption

Notwithstanding the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Public Law 109–282; 31 U.S.C. 6101 note), the requirements of parts 25 and 170 of title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), shall not apply with respect to assistance received by an exempted producer from the Secretary, acting through the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency.

II

Conservation

A

Wetland Conservation

2101.

Wetland conversion

Section 1221(d) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3821(d)) is amended—

(1)

by striking Except as and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

Except as

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Duty of the Secretary

No person shall become ineligible under paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that an exemption under section 1222(b) applies to that person.

.

2102.

Wetland conservation

Section 1222(c) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3822(c)) is amended—

(1)

by striking No program and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

No program

;

(2)

in paragraph (1) (as so designated), by inserting , which, except as provided in paragraph (2), shall be conducted in the presence of the affected person before the period at the end; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Exception

The Secretary may conduct an on-site visit under paragraph (1) without the affected person present if the Secretary has made a reasonable effort to include the presence of the affected person at the on-site visit.

.

2103.

Mitigation banking

Section 1222(k)(1)(B) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3822(k)(1)(B)) is amended to read as follows:

(B)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out this paragraph $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

.

B

Conservation Reserve Program

2201.

Conservation reserve

(a)

In General

Section 1231(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831(a)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(b)

Eligible land

Section 1231(b) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)(B), by striking Agricultural Act of 2014 (except for land enrolled in the conservation reserve program as of that date) and inserting Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, on the condition that the Secretary shall consider to be planted cropland enrolled in the conservation reserve program;

(2)

by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as paragraphs (5) and (6), respectively;

(3)

by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:

(4)

cropland, marginal pasture land, and grasslands that will have a positive impact on water quality and will be devoted to—

(A)

a grass sod waterway;

(B)

a contour grass sod strip;

(C)

a prairie strip;

(D)

a filterstrip;

(E)

a riparian buffer;

(F)

a wetland or a wetland buffer;

(G)

a saturated buffer;

(H)

a bioreactor; or

(I)

another similar water quality practice, as determined by the Secretary;

;

(4)

in paragraph (5) (as so redesignated)—

(A)

in subparagraph (C), by striking or filterstrips or riparian buffers devoted to trees, shrubs, or grasses and inserting salt tolerant vegetation, field borders, or practices to benefit State or federally identified wellhead protection areas; and

(B)

in subparagraph (E), by striking or after the semicolon;

(5)

in paragraph (6) (as so redesignated), in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; or; and

(6)

by adding at the end the following:

(7)

as determined by the Secretary, land—

(A)

that was enrolled in the conservation reserve program under a 15-year contract that expired on September 30, 2017, or September 30, 2018;

(B)

for which there was no opportunity for additional enrollment in that program; and

(C)

on which the conservation practice under the expired contract under subparagraph (A) is maintained.

.

(c)

Enrollment

Section 1231(d) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831(d)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking subparagraphs (A) through (E) and inserting the following:

(A)

fiscal year 2019, not more than 24,000,000 acres;

(B)

fiscal year 2020, not more than 24,500,000 acres;

(C)

fiscal year 2021, not more than 25,000,000 acres;

(D)

fiscal year 2022, not more than 25,500,000 acres; and

(E)

fiscal year 2023, not more than 27,000,000 acres.

;

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

by striking subparagraphs (A) and (B) and inserting the following:

(A)

Limitation

For purposes of applying the limitations in paragraph (1)—

(i)

the Secretary shall enroll and maintain in the conservation reserve not fewer than 2,000,000 acres of the land described in subsection (b)(3) by September 30, 2023; and

(ii)

in carrying out clause (i), to the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall maintain in the conservation reserve at any one time during—

(I)

fiscal year 2019, 1,000,000 acres;

(II)

fiscal year 2020, 1,500,000 acres; and

(III)

fiscal years 2021 through 2023, 2,000,000 acres.

(B)

Priority

In enrolling acres under subparagraph (A), the Secretary may give priority to land, as determined by the Secretary—

(i)

with expiring conservation reserve contracts;

(ii)

at risk of conversion or development; or

(iii)

of ecological significance, including land that—

(I)

may assist in the restoration of threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.);

(II)

may assist in preventing a species from being listed as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); or

(III)

improves or creates wildlife habitat corridors.

;

(B)

in subparagraph (C)—

(i)

by striking In enrolling and inserting the following:

(i)

In general

In enrolling

;

(ii)

in clause (i) (as so designated), by striking a continuous and inserting an annual; and

(iii)

by adding at the end the following:

(ii)

Timing of grassland ranking period

For purposes of grasslands described in subsection (b)(3), the Secretary shall announce at least 1 ranking period subsequent to the announcement of general enrollment offers.

; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(D)

Reservation of unenrolled acres

If the Secretary is unable in a fiscal year to enroll enough acres of land described in subsection (b)(3) to meet the number of acres described in clause (ii) or (iii) of subparagraph (A) for the fiscal year—

(i)

the Secretary shall reserve the remaining number of acres for that fiscal year for the enrollment of land described in subsection (b)(3); and

(ii)

that number of acres shall not be available for the enrollment of any other type of eligible land.

; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Water quality practices to foster clean lakes, estuaries, and rivers (CLEAR initiative)

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall give priority within continuous enrollment under paragraph (6) to the enrollment of land described in subsection (b)(4).

(B)

Sediment and nutrient loadings

In carrying out subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall give priority to the implementation of practices on land that, if enrolled, will help reduce sediment loadings, nutrient loadings, and harmful algal blooms, as determined by the Secretary.

(C)

Acreage

(i)

In general

Of the acres maintained in the conservation reserve in accordance with paragraph (1), to the maximum extent practicable, not less than 40 percent of acres enrolled in the conservation reserve using continuous enrollment under paragraph (6) shall be of land described in subsection (b)(4).

(ii)

Limitation

The acres described in clause (i) shall not include grasslands described in subsection (b)(3).

(D)

Report

The Secretary shall—

(i)

in the monthly publication of the Secretary describing conservation reserve program statistics, include a description of enrollments through the priority under this paragraph; and

(ii)

publish on the website of the Farm Service Agency an annual report describing a summary of, with respect to the enrollment priority under this paragraph—

(I)

new enrollments;

(II)

expirations;

(III)

geographic distribution; and

(IV)

estimated water quality benefits.

(4)

State enrollment rates

At the beginning of each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, to the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall allocate to the States proportionately 60 percent of the available number of acres each year for enrollment in the conservation reserve, in accordance with historical State enrollment rates, taking into consideration—

(A)

the average number of acres of all land enrolled in the conservation reserve in each State during each of fiscal years 2007 through 2016;

(B)

the average number of acres of all land enrolled in the conservation reserve nationally during each of fiscal years 2007 through 2016; and

(C)

the acres available for enrollment during each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, excluding acres described in paragraph (2).

(5)

Frequency

In carrying out this subchapter, for contracts that are not available on a continuous enrollment basis, the Secretary shall hold a signup and enrollment not less often than once each year.

(6)

Continuous enrollment procedure

(A)

In general

To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall allow producers to submit applications on a continuous basis for enrollment in—

(i)

the conservation reserve of—

(I)

marginal pasture land described in subsection (b)(2);

(II)

land described in subsection (b)(4); and

(III)

cropland described in subsection (b)(5); and

(ii)

the conservation reserve enhancement program under section 1231A.

(B)

Limitation

For purposes of applying the limitations in paragraph (1)—

(i)

the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, enroll and maintain not fewer than 8,600,000 acres of land under subparagraph (A) by September 30, 2023; and

(ii)

in carrying out clause (i), to the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall maintain in the conservation reserve at any one time during—

(I)

fiscal year 2019, 8,000,000 acres;

(II)

fiscal year 2020, 8,250,000 acres;

(III)

fiscal year 2021, 8,500,000 acres; and

(IV)

fiscal years 2022 and 2023, 8,600,000 acres.

.

(d)

Eligibility for consideration

Section 1231(h) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831(h)) is amended—

(1)

by striking On the expiration and inserting the following:

(1)

In general

On the expiration

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Reenrollment limitation for certain land

(A)

In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), land subject to a contract entered into under this subchapter shall be eligible for only one reenrollment in the conservation reserve under paragraph (1) if the land is devoted to hardwood trees.

(B)

Exclusions

Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to—

(i)

riparian forested buffers;

(ii)

forested wetlands enrolled under subsection (d)(3) or the conservation reserve enhancement program under section 1231A; and

(iii)

shelterbelts.

.

2202.

Conservation reserve enhancement program

(a)

In general

Subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 is amended by inserting after section 1231 (16 U.S.C. 3831) the following:

1231A.

Conservation reserve enhancement program

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

CREP

The term CREP means a conservation reserve enhancement program carried out under subsection (b)(1).

(2)

Eligible land

The term eligible land means land that is eligible to be included in the program established under this subchapter.

(3)

Eligible partner

The term eligible partner means—

(A)

a State;

(B)

a political subdivision of a State;

(C)

an Indian tribe (as defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304)); or

(D)

a nongovernmental organization.

(4)

Management

The term management means an activity conducted by an owner or operator under a contract entered into under this subchapter after the establishment of a conservation practice on eligible land, to regularly maintain or enhance the vegetative cover established by the conservation practice—

(A)

throughout the term of the contract; and

(B)

consistent with the conservation plan that covers the eligible land.

(b)

Agreements

(1)

In general

The Secretary may enter into an agreement with an eligible partner to carry out a conservation reserve enhancement program—

(A)

to assist in enrolling eligible land in the program established under this subchapter; and

(B)

that the Secretary determines will advance the purposes of this subchapter.

(2)

Contents

An agreement entered into under paragraph (1) shall—

(A)

describe—

(i)

1 or more specific State or nationally significant conservation concerns to be addressed by the agreement;

(ii)

quantifiable environmental goals for addressing the concerns under clause (i);

(iii)

a suitable acreage goal for enrollment of eligible land under the agreement, as determined by the Secretary;

(iv)

the location of eligible land to be enrolled in the project area identified under the agreement;

(v)

the payments to be offered by the Secretary and eligible partner to an owner or operator; and

(vi)

an appropriate list of conservation reserve program conservation practices that are appropriate to meeting the concerns described under clause (i), as determined by the Secretary in consultation with eligible partners;

(B)

subject to subparagraph (C), require the eligible partner to provide matching funds—

(i)

in an amount determined during a negotiation between the Secretary and 1 or more eligible partners, if the majority of the matching funds to carry out the agreement are provided by 1 or more eligible partners that are not nongovernmental organizations; or

(ii)

in an amount not less than 30 percent of the cost required to carry out the conservation measures and practices described in the agreement, if a majority of the matching funds to carry out the agreement are provided by 1 or more nongovernmental organizations; and

(C)

include procedures to allow for a temporary waiver of the matching requirements under subparagraph (B), or continued enrollment with a temporary suspension of incentives or eligible partner contributions for new agreements, during a period when an eligible partner loses the authority or ability to provide matching contributions, if the Secretary determines that the temporary waiver or continued enrollment with a temporary suspension will advance the purposes of this subchapter.

(3)

Effect on existing agreements

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), an agreement under this subsection shall not affect, modify, or interfere with existing agreements under this subchapter.

(B)

Modification of existing agreements

To implement this section, the signatories to an agreement under this subsection may mutually agree to a modification of an agreement entered into before the date of enactment of this section under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program established by the Secretary under this subchapter.

(c)

Payments

(1)

Matching requirement

Funds provided by an eligible partner may be in cash, in-kind contributions, or technical assistance, as determined by the Secretary.

(2)

Marginal pastureland cost-share payments

The Secretary shall ensure that cost-share payments to an owner or operator to install stream fencing, crossings, and alternative water development on marginal pastureland under a CREP reflect the fair market value of the cost of installation.

(3)

Cost-share and practice incentive payments

(A)

In general

On request of an owner or operator, the Secretary shall provide cost-share payments when a major component of a conservation practice is completed under a CREP, as determined by the Secretary.

(B)

Exemption

For purposes of implementing conservation practices on land enrolled under a CREP, the Secretary may waive the contribution limitation described in section 1234(b)(2)(A).

(4)

Riparian buffer management payments

(A)

In general

In the case of an agreement under subsection (b)(1) that includes riparian buffers as an eligible practice, the Secretary shall make cost-share payments to encourage the regular management of the riparian buffer throughout the term of the agreement, consistent with the conservation plan that covers the eligible land.

(B)

Limitation

The amount of payments received by an owner or operator under subparagraph (A) shall not be greater than 100 percent of the normal and customary projected management cost, as determined by the Secretary, in consultation with the applicable State technical committee established under section 1261(a).

(d)

Forested riparian buffer practice

(1)

Food-producing woody plants

In the case of an agreement under subsection (b)(1) that includes forested riparian buffers as an eligible practice, the Secretary shall allow an owner or operator—

(A)

to plant food-producing woody plants in the forested riparian buffers, on the conditions that—

(i)

the plants shall contribute to the conservation of soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat; and

(ii)

the planting shall be consistent with—

(I)

recommendations of the applicable State technical committee established under section 1261(a); and

(II)

technical guide standards of the applicable field office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and

(B)

to harvest from plants described in subparagraph (A), on the conditions that—

(i)

the harvesting shall not damage the conserving cover or otherwise have a negative impact on the conservation concerns targeted by the CREP;

(ii)

only native plant species appropriate to the region shall be used within 35 feet of the watercourse; and

(iii)

the producer shall be subject to a reduction in the rental rate commensurate to the value of the crop harvested.

(2)

Technical assistance

For the purpose of enrolling forested riparian buffers in a CREP, the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency shall coordinate with the applicable State forestry agency.

(e)

Drought and water conservation agreements

In the case of an agreement under subsection (b)(1) to address regional drought concerns, in accordance with the conservation purposes of the CREP, the Secretary, in consultation with the applicable State technical committee established under section 1261(a), may—

(1)

notwithstanding subsection (a)(2), enroll other agricultural land on which the resource concerns identified in the agreement can be addressed if the enrollment of the land is critical to the accomplishment of the purposes of the agreement;

(2)

permit dryland agricultural uses with the adoption of best management practices on enrolled land if the agreement involves the significant long-term reduction of consumptive water use and dryland production is compatible with the agreement; and

(3)

calculate annual rental payments consistent with existing administrative practice for similar drought and water conservation agreements under this subtitle and ensure regional consistency in those rates.

(f)

Status report

Not later than 180 days after the end of each fiscal year, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report that describes, with respect to each agreement entered into under subsection (b)(1)—

(1)

the status of the agreement;

(2)

the purposes and objectives of the agreement;

(3)

the Federal and eligible partner commitments made under the agreement; and

(4)

the progress made in fulfilling those commitments.

.

(b)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Section 1240R(c)(3) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839bb–5(c)(3)) is amended by striking a special conservation reserve enhancement program described in section 1234(f)(4) and inserting a conservation reserve enhancement program under section 1231A.

(2)

Section 1244(f)(3) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844(f)(3)) is amended by striking subsection (d)(2)(A)(ii) or (g)(2) of section 1234 and inserting section 1231A.

2203.

Farmable wetland program

Section 1231B of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831b) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(1), by striking 2018 and inserting 2023; and

(2)

in subsection (f)(2), by striking 1234(d)(2)(A)(ii) and inserting 1234(d).

2204.

Pilot programs

Subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 is amended by inserting after section 1231B (16 U.S.C. 3831b) the following:

1231C.

Pilot programs

(a)

CLEAR 30

(1)

In general

(A)

Enrollment

The Secretary shall establish a pilot program to enroll land in the conservation reserve program through a 30-year conservation reserve contract (referred to in this subsection as a CLEAR 30 contract) in accordance with this subsection.

(B)

Inclusion of acreage limitation

For purposes of applying the limitations in section 1231(d)(1), the Secretary shall include acres of land enrolled under this subsection.

(2)

Expired conservation contract election

(A)

Definition of covered contract

In this paragraph, the term covered contract means a contract entered into under this subchapter that—

(i)

expires on or after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018; and

(ii)

covers land enrolled in the conservation reserve program under the clean lakes, estuaries, and rivers priority described in section 1231(d)(3) (or the predecessor practices that constitute the priority, as determined by the Secretary).

(B)

Election

On the expiration of a covered contract, an owner or operator party to the covered contract shall elect—

(i)

not to reenroll the land under the contract;

(ii)

to offer to reenroll the land under the contract if the land remains eligible under the terms in effect as of the date of expiration; or

(iii)

not to reenroll the land under the contract and to enroll that land through a CLEAR 30 contract under this subsection.

(3)

Eligible land

Only land that is subject to an expired covered contract shall be eligible for enrollment through a CLEAR 30 contract under this subsection.

(4)

Term

The term of a CLEAR 30 contract shall be 30 years.

(5)

Agreements

To be eligible to enroll land in the conservation reserve program through a CLEAR 30 contract, the owner of the land shall enter into an agreement with the Secretary—

(A)

to implement a conservation reserve plan developed for the land;

(B)

to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and any related agreements; and

(C)

to temporarily suspend the base history for the land covered by the contract.

(6)

Terms and conditions of CLEAR 30 contracts

(A)

In general

A CLEAR 30 contract shall include terms and conditions that—

(i)

permit—

(I)

repairs, improvements, and inspections on the land that are necessary to maintain existing public drainage systems; and

(II)

owners to control public access on the land while identifying access routes to be used for restoration activities and management and contract monitoring;

(ii)

prohibit—

(I)

the alteration of wildlife habitat and other natural features of the land, unless specifically authorized by the Secretary as part of the conservation reserve plan;

(II)

the spraying of the land with chemicals or the mowing of the land, except where the spraying or mowing is authorized by the Secretary or is necessary—

(aa)

to comply with Federal or State noxious weed control laws;

(bb)

to comply with a Federal or State emergency pest treatment program; or

(cc)

to meet habitat needs of specific wildlife species;

(III)

any activity to be carried out on the land of the owner or successor that is immediately adjacent to, and functionally related to, the land that is subject to the contract if the activity will alter, degrade, or otherwise diminish the functional value of the land; and

(IV)

the adoption of any other practice that would tend to defeat the purposes of the conservation reserve program, as determined by the Secretary; and

(iii)

include any additional provision that the Secretary determines is appropriate to carry out this section or facilitate the practical administration of this section.

(B)

Violation

On the violation of a term or condition of a CLEAR 30 contract, the Secretary may require the owner to refund all or part of any payments received by the owner under the conservation reserve program, with interest on the payments, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.

(C)

Compatible uses

Land subject to a CLEAR 30 contract may be used for compatible economic uses, including hunting and fishing, managed timber harvest, or periodic haying or grazing, if the use—

(i)

is specifically permitted by the conservation reserve plan developed for the land; and

(ii)

is consistent with the long-term protection and enhancement of the conservation resources for which the contract was established.

(7)

Compensation

(A)

Amount of payments

The Secretary shall provide payment under this subsection to an owner of land enrolled through a CLEAR 30 contract using 30 annual payments in an amount equal to the amount that would be used if the land were to be enrolled in the conservation reserve program under section 1231(d)(3).

(B)

Form of payment

Compensation for a CLEAR 30 contract shall be provided by the Secretary in the form of a cash payment in an amount determined under subparagraph (A).

(C)

Timing

The Secretary shall provide any annual payment obligation under subparagraph (A) as early as practicable in each fiscal year.

(D)

Payments to others

The Secretary shall make a payment, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary, in a manner as the Secretary determines is fair and reasonable under the circumstances, if an owner who is entitled to a payment under this section—

(i)

dies;

(ii)

becomes incompetent;

(iii)

is succeeded by another person or entity who renders or completes the required performance; or

(iv)

is otherwise unable to receive the payment.

(8)

Technical assistance

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall assist owners in complying with the terms and conditions of a CLEAR 30 contract.

(B)

Contracts or agreements

The Secretary may enter into 1 or more contracts with private entities or agreements with a State, nongovernmental organization, or Indian Tribe to carry out necessary maintenance of a CLEAR 30 contract if the Secretary determines that the contract or agreement will advance the purposes of the conservation reserve program.

(9)

Administration

(A)

Conservation reserve plan

The Secretary shall develop a conservation reserve plan for any land subject to a CLEAR 30 contract, which shall include practices and activities necessary to maintain, protect, and enhance the conservation value of the enrolled land.

(B)

Delegation of contract administration

(i)

Federal, State, or local government agencies

The Secretary may delegate any of the management, monitoring, and enforcement responsibilities of the Secretary under this subsection to other Federal, State, or local government agencies that have the appropriate authority, expertise, and resources necessary to carry out those delegated responsibilities.

(ii)

Conservation organizations

The Secretary may delegate any management responsibilities of the Secretary under this subsection to conservation organizations if the Secretary determines the conservation organization has similar expertise and resources.

(b)

Soil health and income protection pilot program

(1)

Definition of eligible land

In this subsection:

(A)

In general

The term eligible land means cropland that—

(i)

is selected by the owner or operator of the land for proposed enrollment in the pilot program under this subsection; and

(ii)

as determined by the Secretary—

(I)

is located within 1 or more States that are part of the prairie pothole region, as selected by the Secretary based on consultation with State Committees of the Farm Service Agency and State technical committees established under section 1261(a) from that region;

(II)

had a cropping history or was considered to be planted during each of the 3 crop years preceding enrollment; and

(III)

is verified to be less-productive land, as compared to other land on the applicable farm.

(B)

Exclusion

The term eligible land does not include any land that was enrolled in a conservation reserve program contract in any of the 3 crop years preceding enrollment in the pilot program under this subsection.

(2)

Establishment

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall establish a voluntary soil health and income protection pilot program under which eligible land is enrolled through the use of contracts to assist owners and operators of eligible land to conserve and improve the soil, water, and wildlife resources of the eligible land.

(B)

Deadline for participation

Eligible land may be enrolled in the program under this section through December 31, 2020.

(3)

Contracts

(A)

Requirements

A contract described in paragraph (2) shall—

(i)

be entered into by the Secretary, the owner of the eligible land, and (if applicable) the operator of the eligible land; and

(ii)

provide that, during the term of the contract—

(I)

the lowest practicable cost perennial conserving use cover crop for the eligible land, as determined by the applicable State conservationist after considering the advice of the applicable State technical committee, shall be planted on the eligible land;

(II)

except as provided in subparagraph (E), the owner or operator of the eligible land shall pay the cost of planting the conserving use cover crop under subclause (I);

(III)

subject to subparagraph (F), the eligible land may be harvested for seed, hayed, or grazed outside the primary nesting season established for the applicable county;

(IV)

the eligible land may be eligible for a walk-in access program of the applicable State, if any; and

(V)

a nonprofit wildlife organization may provide to the owner or operator of the eligible land a payment in exchange for an agreement by the owner or operator not to harvest the conserving use cover.

(B)

Payments

Except as provided in subparagraphs (E) and (F)(ii)(II), the annual rental rate for a payment under a contract described in paragraph (2) shall be equal to 50 percent of the average rental rate for the applicable county under section 1234(d), as determined by the Secretary.

(C)

Limitation on enrolled land

Not more than 15 percent of the eligible land on a farm may be enrolled in the pilot program under this subsection.

(D)

Term

(i)

In general

Except as provided in clause (ii), each contract described in paragraph (2) shall be for a term of 3, 4, or 5 years, as determined by the parties to the contract.

(ii)

Early termination

(I)

Secretary

The Secretary may terminate a contract described in paragraph (2) before the end of the term described in clause (i) if the Secretary determines that the early termination of the contract is necessary.

(II)

Owners and operators

An owner and (if applicable) an operator of eligible land enrolled in the pilot program under this subsection may terminate a contract described in paragraph (2) before the end of the term described in clause (i) if the owner and (if applicable) the operator pay to the Secretary an amount equal to the amount of rental payments received under the contract.

(E)

Beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmers and ranchers

With respect to a beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmer or rancher, as determined by the Secretary—

(i)

a contract described in paragraph (2) shall provide that, during the term of the contract, of the actual cost of establishment of the conserving use cover crop under subparagraph (A)(ii)(I)—

(I)

using the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall pay 50 percent; and

(II)

the beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, or veteran farmer or rancher shall pay 50 percent; and

(ii)

the annual rental rate for a payment under a contract described in paragraph (2) shall be equal to 75 percent of the average rental rate for the applicable county under section 1234(d), as determined by the Secretary.

(F)

Harvesting, haying, and grazing outside applicable period

The harvesting for seed, haying, or grazing of eligible land under subparagraph (A)(ii)(III) outside of the primary nesting season established for the applicable county shall be subject to the conditions that—

(i)

with respect to eligible land that is so hayed or grazed, adequate stubble height shall be maintained to protect the soil on the eligible land, as determined by the applicable State conservationist after considering the advice of the applicable State technical committee; and

(ii)

with respect to eligible land that is so harvested for seed—

(I)

the eligible land shall not be eligible to be insured or reinsured under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.); and

(II)

the rental payment otherwise applicable to the eligible land under this subsection shall be reduced by 25 percent.

(4)

Acreage limitation

Of the number of acres available for enrollment in the conservation reserve under section 1231(d)(1), not more than 50,000 total acres of eligible land may be enrolled under the pilot program under this subsection.

(5)

Report

The Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate an annual report describing the eligible land enrolled in the pilot program under this subsection, including—

(A)

the estimated conservation value of the land; and

(B)

estimated savings from reduced commodity payments, crop insurance indemnities, and crop insurance premium subsidies.

.

2205.

Duties of owners and operators

Section 1232(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3832(a)) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (10) and (11) as paragraphs (11) and (12), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting after paragraph (9) the following:

(10)

on land devoted to hardwood or other trees, excluding windbreaks and shelterbelts, to carry out proper thinning and other practices—

(A)

to enhance the conservation benefits and wildlife habitat resources addressed by the conservation practice under which the land is enrolled; and

(B)

to promote forest management;

.

2206.

Duties of the Secretary

(a)

Cost-Share and rental payments

Section 1233(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3833(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by inserting , including the cost of fencing and other water distribution practices, if applicable after interest; and

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking in an amount necessary to compensate and inserting , in accordance with section 1234(d),;

(B)

in subparagraph (A)—

(i)

by inserting , marginal pastureland, after cropland; and

(ii)

by adding or at the end;

(C)

by striking subparagraph (B); and

(D)

by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (B).

(b)

Specified activities permitted

Section 1233 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3833) is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

(b)

Specified activities permitted

(1)

In general

The Secretary, in coordination with the applicable State technical committee established under section 1261(a), shall permit certain activities or commercial uses of established cover on land that is subject to a contract under the conservation reserve program if—

(A)

those activities or uses—

(i)

are consistent with the conservation of soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat;

(ii)

are subject to appropriate restrictions during the primary nesting season for birds in the local area that are economically significant, in significant decline, or conserved in accordance with Federal or State law;

(iii)

contribute to the health and vigor of the established cover; and

(iv)

are consistent with a site-specific plan, including vegetative management requirements, stocking rates, and frequency and duration of activity, taking into consideration regional differences, such as climate, soil type, and natural resources; and

(B)

the Secretary, in coordination with the State technical committee, includes contract modifications—

(i)

without any reduction in the rental rate for—

(I)

emergency haying, emergency grazing, or other emergency use of the forage in response to a localized or regional drought, flooding, wildfire, or other emergency, on all practices, outside the primary nesting season, when—

(aa)

the county is designated as D2 (severe drought) or greater according to the United States Drought Monitor;

(bb)

there is at least a 40 percent loss in forage production in the county; or

(cc)

the Secretary, in coordination with the State technical committee, determines that the program can assist in the response to a natural disaster event without permanent damage to the established cover;

(II)

emergency grazing on all practices during the primary nesting season if payments are authorized for a county under the livestock forage disaster program under clause (ii) of section 1501(c)(3)(D) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9081(c)(3)(D)), at 50 percent of the normal carrying capacity determined under clause (i) of that section, adjusted to the site-specific plan;

(III)

emergency haying on certain practices, outside the primary nesting season, if payments are authorized for a county under the livestock forage disaster program under clause (ii) of section 1501(c)(3)(D) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9081(c)(3)(D)), on not more than 50 percent of contract acres, as identified in the site-specific plan;

(IV)

grazing of all practices, outside the primary nesting season, if included as a mid-contract management practice under section 1232(a)(5);

(V)

the intermittent and seasonal use of vegetative buffer established under paragraphs (4) and (5) of section 1231(b) that are incidental to agricultural production on land adjacent to the buffer such that the permitted use—

(aa)

does not destroy the permanent vegetative cover; and

(bb)

retains suitable vegetative structure for wildlife cover and shelter outside the primary nesting season; or

(VI)

grazing on all practices, outside the primary nesting season, if conducted by a beginning farmer or rancher; or

(ii)

with a 25 percent reduction in the annual rental rate for the acres covered by the authorized activity, including—

(I)

grazing not more frequently than every other year on the same land, except that during the primary nesting season, grazing shall be subject to a 50 percent reduction in the stocking rate specified in the site-specific plan;

(II)

grazing of all practices during the primary nesting season, with a 50 percent reduction in the stocking rate specified in the site-specific plan;

(III)

haying and other commercial use (including the managed harvesting of biomass and excluding the harvesting of vegetative cover), on the condition that the activity—

(aa)

is completed outside the primary nesting season;

(bb)

occurs not more than once every 3 years; and

(cc)

maintains 25 percent of the total contract acres unharvested, in accordance with a site-specific plan that provides for wildlife cover and shelter;

(IV)

annual grazing outside the primary nesting season if consistent with a site-specific plan that is authorized for the control of invasive species; and

(V)

the installation of wind turbines and associated access, except that in permitting the installation of wind turbines, the Secretary shall determine the number and location of wind turbines that may be installed, taking into account—

(aa)

the location, size, and other physical characteristics of the land;

(bb)

the extent to which the land contains threatened or endangered wildlife and wildlife habitat; and

(cc)

the purposes of the conservation reserve program under this subchapter.

(2)

Conditions on haying and grazing

(A)

In general

The Secretary may permit haying or grazing in accordance with paragraph (1) on any land or practice subject to a contract under the conservation reserve program.

(B)

Exceptions

(i)

Damage to vegetative cover

Haying or grazing described in paragraph (1) shall not be permitted on land subject to a contract under the conservation reserve program, or under a particular practice, if haying or grazing for that year under that practice, as applicable, would cause long-term damage to vegetative cover on that land.

(ii)

Special agreements

(I)

In general

Except as provided in subclause (II), haying or grazing described in paragraph (1) shall not be permitted on—

(aa)

land covered by a contract enrolled under the State acres for wildlife enhancement program established by the Secretary; or

(bb)

land covered by a contract enrolled under a conservation reserve enhancement program established under section 1231A or the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program established by the Secretary under this subchapter.

(II)

Exception

Subclause (I) shall not apply to land on which haying or grazing is specifically permitted under the applicable conservation reserve enhancement program agreement or other partnership agreement entered into under this subchapter.

.

(c)

Natural disaster or adverse weather as mid-contract management

Section 1233 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3833) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(e)

Natural disaster or adverse weather as mid-contract management

In the case of a natural disaster or adverse weather event that has the effect of a management practice consistent with the conservation plan, the Secretary shall not require further management practices pursuant to section 1232(a)(5) that are intended to achieve the same effect.

.

2207.

Payments

(a)

Cost sharing payments

Section 1234(b) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3834(b)) is amended—

(1)

by striking paragraphs (2) through (4) and inserting the following:

(2)

Limitations

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that cost sharing payments to an owner or operator under this subchapter, when combined with the sum of payments from all other funding sources for measures and practices described in paragraph (1), do not exceed 100 percent of the total actual cost of establishing those measures and practices, as determined by the Secretary.

(B)

Mid-contract management grazing

The Secretary may not make any cost sharing payment to an owner or operator under this subchapter pursuant to section 1232(a)(5).

(C)

Seed cost

In the case of seed costs related to the establishment of cover, cost sharing payments under this subchapter shall not exceed 50 percent of the actual cost of the seed mixture, as determined by the Secretary.

;

(2)

by redesignating paragraph (5) as paragraph (3);

(3)

in paragraph (3) (as so redesignated), by striking An owner and inserting Except in the case of incentive payments that are related to the cost of the establishment of a practice and received from eligible partners under the conservation reserve enhancement program under section 1231A, an owner; and

(4)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Practice incentives for continuous practices

In addition to the cost sharing payment described in this subsection, the Secretary shall make an incentive payment to an owner or operator of land enrolled under section 1231(d)(6) in an amount not to exceed 50 percent of the actual cost of establishing all measures and practices described in paragraph (1), including seed costs related to the establishment of cover, as determined by the Secretary.

.

(b)

Incentive payments

Section 1234(c) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3834(c)) is amended—

(1)

in the subsection heading, by striking Incentive and inserting Forest management incentive;

(2)

in paragraph (1), by striking The Secretary and inserting Using funds made available under section 1241(a)(1)(A), the Secretary; and

(3)

in paragraph (2), by striking 150 percent and inserting 100 percent.

(c)

Annual rental payments

Section 1234(d) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3834(d)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking the Secretary may consider, among other things, the amount and inserting the following:

the Secretary shall consider—

(A)

the amount

;

(B)

in subparagraph (A) (as so designated), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

the impact on the local farmland rental market; and

(C)

such other factors as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

;

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A)—

(i)

in clause (i), by striking ; or and inserting a period;

(ii)

by striking clause (ii); and

(iii)

by striking determined through— in the matter preceding clause (i) and all that follows through the submission of bids in clause (i) and inserting determined through the submission of applications;

(B)

by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (C);

(C)

by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following:

(B)

Multiple enrollments

(i)

In general

Subject to clause (ii), if land subject to a contract entered into under this subchapter is reenrolled under section 1231(h)(1) or has been previously enrolled in the conservation reserve, the annual rental payment shall be in an amount that is not more than 85 percent in the case of general enrollment contacts, or 90 percent in the case of continuous enrollment contracts, of the applicable estimated average county rental rate published pursuant to paragraph (4) for the year in which the reenrollment occurs.

(ii)

Conservation reserve enhancement program

The reduction in annual rental payments under clause (i) may be waived as part of the negotiation between the Secretary and an eligible partner to enter into a conservation reserve enhancement program agreement under section 1231A.

;

(D)

in subparagraph (C) (as so redesignated), by striking In the case and inserting Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), in the case; and

(E)

by adding at the end the following:

(D)

Continuous sign-up incentives

The Secretary shall make an incentive payment to the owner or operator of land enrolled under section 1231(d)(6) at the time of initial enrollment in an amount equal to 32.5 percent of the amount of the first annual rental payment under subparagraph (A).

;

(3)

by striking paragraph (4);

(4)

by redesignating paragraph (5) as paragraph (4); and

(5)

in paragraph (4) (as so redesignated)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A)—

(i)

by striking , not less frequently than once every other year, and inserting annually; and

(ii)

by inserting , and shall publish the estimates derived from the survey not later than September 15 of each year before the period at the end;

(B)

in subparagraph (B), by inserting and the average current and previous soil rental rates for each county after subparagraph (A);

(C)

in subparagraph (C), by striking may use and inserting shall consider; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(D)

Submission of additional information by State FSA offices and CREP partners

(i)

In general

The Secretary shall provide an opportunity for State Committees of the Farm Service Agency or eligible partners (as defined in section 1231A(a)) in conservation reserve enhancement programs under section 1231A to propose an alternative soil rental rate prior to finalizing new rates, on the condition that documentation described in clause (ii) is provided to support the proposed alternative.

(ii)

Acceptable documentation

Documentation referred to in clause (i) includes—

(I)

an average of cash rents from a random sample of lease agreements;

(II)

cash rent estimates from a published survey;

(III)

neighboring county estimate comparisons from the National Agricultural Statistics Service;

(IV)

an average of cash rents from Farm Service Agency farm business plans;

(V)

models that estimate cash rents, such as models that use returns to estimate crop production or land value data; or

(VI)

other documentation, as determined by the Secretary.

(iii)

Notification

Not less than 14 days prior to the announcement of new or revised soil rental rates, the Secretary shall offer a briefing to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, including information on and the rationale for the alternative rates proposed under clause (i) that were accepted or rejected.

(E)

Rental rate limitation

Notwithstanding forest management incentive payments described in subsection (c), the county average soil rental rate (before any adjustments relating to specific practices, wellhead protection, or soil productivity) shall not exceed—

(i)

85 percent of the estimated rental rate determined under this paragraph for general enrollment; or

(ii)

90 percent of the estimated rental rate determined under this paragraph for continuous enrollment.

.

(d)

Payment limitation for rental payments

Section 1234(g) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3834(g)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking The total and inserting Except as provided in paragraph (2), the total; and

(2)

by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

(2)

Wellhead protection

Paragraph (1) and section 1001D(b) shall not apply to rental payments received by a rural water district or association for land that is enrolled under this subchapter for the purpose of protecting a wellhead.

.

2208.

Contracts

(a)

Transition option for certain farmers or ranchers

Section 1235(f) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3835(f)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking retired farmer or rancher and inserting contract holder;

(B)

by striking retired or retiring owner or operator each place it appears and inserting contract holder;

(C)

in subparagraph (A), in the matter preceding clause (i), by striking 1 year and inserting 2 years;

(D)

in subparagraph (B), by inserting , including a lease with a term of less than 5 years and an option to purchase after option to purchase;

(E)

in subparagraph (D), by striking ; and and inserting a semicolon;

(F)

by redesignating subparagraph (E) as subparagraph (F); and

(G)

by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following:

(E)

give priority to the enrollment of the land covered by the contract in—

(i)

the environmental quality incentives program established under subchapter A of chapter 4;

(ii)

the conservation stewardship program established under subchapter B of chapter 4; or

(iii)

the agricultural conservation easement program established under subtitle H; and

; and

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking The Secretary and inserting To the extent that the maximum number of acres permitted to be enrolled under the conservation reserve program has not been met, the Secretary; and

(B)

by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following:

(A)
(i)

is carried out on land described in paragraph (4) or (5) of section 1231(b); and

(ii)

is eligible for continuous enrollment under section 1231(d)(6); and

.

(b)

End of contract considerations

Section 1235(g) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3835(g)) is amended to read as follows:

(g)

End of contract considerations

The Secretary shall not consider an owner or operator to be in violation of a term or condition of the conservation reserve contract if—

(1)

during the year prior to expiration of the contract, the owner or operator—

(A)
(i)

enters into a contract under the environmental quality incentives program established under subchapter A of chapter 4; and

(ii)

begins the establishment of a practice under that contract; or

(B)
(i)

enters into a contract under the conservation stewardship program established under subchapter B of chapter 4; and

(ii)

begins the establishment of a practice under that contract; or

(2)

during the 3 years prior to the expiration of the contract, the owner or operator begins the certification process under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6501 et seq.).

.

2209.

Eligible land; State law requirements

The Secretary shall revise paragraph (4) of section 1410.6(d) of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, to provide that land enrolled under a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program agreement initially established before January 1, 2014 (including an amended or successor Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program agreement, as determined by the Secretary), shall not be ineligible for enrollment in the conservation reserve program established under subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831 et seq.) under that paragraph if the Deputy Administrator (as defined in section 1410.2(b) of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations)), on recommendation from and in consultation with the applicable State technical committee established under section 1261(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3861(a)) determines, under such terms and conditions as the Deputy Administrator, in consultation with the State technical committee, determines to be appropriate, that making that land eligible for enrollment in that program is not contrary to the purposes of that program.

C

Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program

2301.

Repeal of conservation programs

(a)

In general

Chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa et seq.) is amended—

(1)

by striking the chapter designation and heading and inserting the following:

4

Environmental quality incentives program and conservation stewardship program

A

Environmental quality incentives program

; and

(2)

by inserting after section 1240H the following:

B

Conservation stewardship program

.

(b)

Conservation stewardship program

Subchapter B of chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838d et seq.) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating sections 1238D through 1238G as sections 1240I through 1240L, respectively; and

(2)

by moving sections 1240I through 1240L (as so redesignated) so as to appear after the subchapter heading for subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of that Act (as added by subsection (a)(2)).

(c)

Repeal

(1)

In general

Chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838 et seq.) (as amended by subsection (b)) is repealed.

(2)

Termination of conservation stewardship program

Effective on the date of enactment of this Act, the conservation stewardship program under subchapter B of chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838d et seq.) (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act) shall cease to be effective.

(3)

Transitional provisions

(A)

Effect on existing contracts and agreements

The cessation of effectiveness under paragraph (2) shall not affect—

(i)

the validity or terms of any contract entered into by the Secretary under subchapter B of chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838d et seq.) before the date of enactment of this Act, or any payments, modifications, or technical assistance required to be made in connection with the contract; or

(ii)

subject to subparagraph (D), any agreement entered into by the Secretary under the regional conservation partnership program under subtitle I of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3871 et seq.) on or before September 30, 2018, under which conservation stewardship program acres and associated funding have been allocated to the agreement for the purpose of entering into a contract under subchapter B of chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of that Act (16 U.S.C. 3838d et seq.) (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act).

(B)

Extension permitted

Notwithstanding paragraph (2), the Secretary may extend for 1 year a contract described in subparagraph (A)(i) if that contract expires on or before December 31, 2019, under the terms and payment rate of the existing contract and in accordance with subchapter B of chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838d et seq.) (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act).

(C)

Renewal not permitted

(i)

In general

Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), and subject to clause (ii), the Secretary may not renew a contract or agreement described in that subparagraph.

(ii)

Exception

The Secretary may renew a contract described in subparagraph (A)(i)—

(I)

if that contract expires on or after December 31, 2019;

(II)

under the terms of the conservation stewardship program under subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as added by subsections (a)(2) and (b)); and

(III)

subject to the limitation on funding for that subchapter under section 1241 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841).

(D)

RCPP contracts

(i)

Treatment of acreage

In the case of an agreement described in subparagraph (A)(ii), the Secretary may provide an amount of funding that is equivalent to the value of any acres covered by the agreement.

(ii)

Funds and acres not obligated

In the case of an agreement described in subparagraph (A)(ii) to which program acres and associated funding have been allocated but not yet obligated to enter into a contract under subchapter B of chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838d et seq.) (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act)—

(I)

the Secretary shall modify the agreement to authorize the entrance into a contract under subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as added by subsections (a)(2) and (b)); and

(II)

the funds associated with the conservation stewardship program acres allocated under that agreement, on modification under subclause (I), may be used to enter into conservation stewardship program contracts with producers under subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as added by subsections (a)(2) and (b)).

(4)

Contract administration

Subject to paragraphs (3)(C) and (3)(D)(ii)(II), the Secretary shall administer each contract and agreement described in clauses (i) and (ii) of paragraph (3)(A) until the expiration of the contract or agreement in accordance with the regulations to carry out the conservation stewardship program under subchapter B of chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838d et seq.) (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act) that are in effect on the day before that date of enactment.

(5)

Funding

Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), any funds made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation under section 1241(a)(4) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841(a)(4)) for fiscal years 2014 through 2018 shall be available to carry out—

(A)

any contract or agreement described in paragraph (3)(A)(i) for fiscal year 2019;

(B)

any contract or agreement described in paragraph (3)(A)(ii);

(C)

any contract extended under paragraph (3)(B); and

(D)

any contract or agreement under subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as added by subsections (a)(2) and (b)).

(d)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Food Security Act of 1985

(A)

Section 1211(a)(3)(A) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3811(a)(3)(A)) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(B)

Section 1221(b)(3)(A) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3821(b)(3)(A)) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(C)

Section 1240J(b)(1) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as redesignated by subsection (b)(1)) is amended by striking subparagraph (C).

(D)

Section 1240 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking chapter and inserting subchapter.

(E)

Section 1240A of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–1) is amended by striking chapter each place it appears and inserting subchapter.

(F)

Section 1240B(i)(2)(B) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2(i)(2)(B)) is amended by striking chapter and inserting subchapter.

(G)

Section 1240C(b) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–3(b)) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking chapter and inserting subchapter.

(H)

Section 1240E(b)(2) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–5(b)(2)) is amended by striking chapter and inserting subchapter.

(I)

Section 1240G of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–7) is amended by striking chapter each place it appears and inserting subchapter.

(J)

Section 1240H of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–8) is amended by striking chapter each place it appears and inserting subchapter.

(K)

Section 1244(c)(3) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844(c)(3)) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(L)

Section 1244(l) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844(l)) is amended—

(i)

by striking chapter 2 and inserting chapter 4; and

(ii)

by inserting subchapter A of after incentives program under.

(2)

Other laws

(A)

Section 344(f)(8) of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 (7 U.S.C. 1344(f)(8)) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(B)

Section 377 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 (7 U.S.C. 1377) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(C)

Paragraph (1) of the last proviso of the matter under the heading Conservation Reserve Program under the heading Soil Bank Programs of title I of the Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit Administration Appropriation Act, 1959 (7 U.S.C. 1831a), is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(D)

Section 8(b)(1) of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590h(b)(1)) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(E)

Section 1271(c)(3)(C) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 2106a(c)(3)(C)) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(F)

Section 304(a)(1) of the Lake Champlain Special Designation Act of 1990 (33 U.S.C. 1270 note; Public Law 101–596) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

(G)

Section 202(c) of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act (43 U.S.C. 1592(c)) is amended by inserting subchapter A of before chapter 4.

2302.

Purposes of environmental quality incentives program

Section 1240 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa) is amended by striking paragraph (4) and inserting the following:

(4)

assisting producers to make beneficial, cost-effective changes to production systems, including addressing identified, new, or expected resource concerns related to organic production, grazing management, fuels management, forest management, nutrient management associated with crops and livestock, pest management, irrigation management, adapting to, and mitigating against, increasing weather volatility, drought resiliency measures, or other practices on agricultural and forested land.

.

2303.

Definitions under environmental quality incentives program

Section 1240A of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–1) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) as paragraphs (2), (4), (5), (6), and (8), respectively;

(2)

by inserting before paragraph (2) (as so redesignated) the following:

(1)

Conservation planning assessment

The term conservation planning assessment means a report, as determined by the Secretary, that—

(A)

is developed by—

(i)

a State or unit of local government (including a conservation district);

(ii)

a Federal agency; or

(iii)

a third-party provider certified under section 1242(e) (including a certified rangeland professional);

(B)

assesses rangeland or cropland function and describes conservation activities to enhance the economic and ecological management of that land; and

(C)

can be incorporated into a comprehensive planning document required by the Secretary for enrollment in a conservation program of the Department of Agriculture.

;

(3)

in paragraph (2) (as so redesignated), in subparagraph (B)(vi)—

(A)

by inserting environmentally sensitive areas, after marshes,; and

(B)

by inserting identified or expected before resource concerns;

(4)

by inserting after paragraph (2) (as so redesignated) the following:

(3)

Incentive practice

The term incentive practice means a practice or set of practices approved by the Secretary that, when implemented and maintained on eligible land, address 1 or more priority resource concerns.

;

(5)

in paragraph (6) (as so redesignated)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A)—

(i)

in clause (iv), by striking and at the end;

(ii)

by redesignating clause (v) as clause (vii); and

(iii)

by inserting after clause (iv) the following:

(v)

soil testing;

(vi)

soil remediation to be carried out by the producer; and

; and

(B)

in subparagraph (B)—

(i)

in clause (i), by striking and at the end;

(ii)

by redesignating clause (ii) as clause (vi); and

(iii)

by inserting after clause (i) the following:

(ii)

planning for resource-conserving crop rotations (as defined in section 1240L(d)(1));

(iii)

soil health planning, including increasing soil organic matter and the use of cover crops;

(iv)

a conservation planning assessment;

(v)

precision conservation management planning; and

;

(6)

by inserting after paragraph (6) (as so redesignated) the following:

(7)

Priority resource concern

The term priority resource concern means a natural resource concern or problem, as determined by the Secretary, that—

(A)

is identified at the national, State, or local level as a priority for a particular area of a State; and

(B)

represents a significant concern in a State or region.

; and

(7)

by adding at the end the following:

(9)

Soil remediation

The term soil remediation means scientifically based practices that—

(A)

ensure the safety of producers from contaminants in soil;

(B)

limit contaminants in soil from entering agricultural products for human or animal consumption; and

(C)

regenerate and sustain the soil.

(10)

Soil testing

The term soil testing means the evaluation of soil health, including testing for—

(A)

the optimal level of constituents in the soil, such as organic matter, nutrients, and the potential presence of soil contaminants, including heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or other contaminants; and

(B)

the biological and physical characteristics indicative of proper soil functioning.

.

2304.

Establishment and administration of environmental quality incentives program

(a)

Establishment

Section 1240B(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2(a)) is amended by striking 2019 and inserting 2023.

(b)

Payments

Section 1240B(d) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2(d)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (4)(B)—

(A)

in clause (i)—

(i)

by striking Not more than and inserting On an election by a producer described in subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall provide at least;

(ii)

by striking may be provided; and

(iii)

by striking the purpose of and inserting all costs related to; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(iii)

Notification and documentation

The Secretary shall—

(I)

notify each producer described in subparagraph (A), at the time of enrollment in the program, of the option to receive advance payments under clause (i); and

(II)

document the election of each producer described in subparagraph (A) to receive advance payments under clause (i) with respect to each practice that has costs described in that clause.

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(7)

Increased payments for high-priority practices

(A)

State determination

Each State, in consultation with the State technical committee established under section 1261(a) for the State, may designate not more than 10 practices to be eligible for increased payments under subparagraph (B), on the condition that the practice, as determined by the Secretary—

(i)

addresses specific causes of impairment relating to excessive nutrients in groundwater or surface water;

(ii)

addresses the conservation of water to advance drought mitigation and declining aquifers;

(iii)

meets other environmental priorities and other priority resource concerns identified in habitat or other area restoration plans; or

(iv)

is geographically targeted to address a natural resource concern in a specific watershed.

(B)

Increased payments

Notwithstanding paragraph (2), in the case of a practice designated under subparagraph (A), the Secretary may increase the amount that would otherwise be provided for a practice under this subsection to not more than 90 percent of the costs associated with planning, design, materials, equipment, installation, labor, management, maintenance, or training.

.

(c)

Allocation of funding

Section 1240B(f) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2(f)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking 2014 through 2018 and inserting 2019 through 2023;

(B)

by striking 60 and inserting 50; and

(C)

by striking production. and inserting production, including grazing management practices.; and

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

by striking For each and inserting the following:

(A)

Fiscal years 2014 through 2018

For each

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

Fiscal years 2019 through 2023

For each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, at least 10 percent of the funds made available for payments under the program shall be targeted at practices benefitting wildlife habitat under subsection (g).

.

(d)

Wildlife habitat incentive program

Section 1240B(g) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2(g)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Maximum term

In the case of a contract under the program entered into solely for the establishment of 1 or more annual management practices for the benefit of wildlife as described in paragraph (1), notwithstanding any maximum contract term established by the Secretary, the contract shall have a term that does not exceed 10 years.

(4)

Included practices

For the purpose of providing seasonal wetland habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds, a practice that is eligible for payment under paragraph (1) and targeted for funding under subsection (f) may include—

(A)

a practice to carry out postharvest flooding; or

(B)

a practice to maintain the hydrology of temporary and seasonal wetlands of not more than 2 acres to maintain waterfowl and migratory bird habitat on working cropland.

.

(e)

Water conservation or irrigation efficiency practice

Section 1240B(h) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2(h)) is amended—

(1)

by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

(1)

Availability of payments

The Secretary may provide water conservation and system efficiency payments under this subsection to an entity described in paragraph (2) or a producer for—

(A)

water conservation scheduling, water distribution efficiency, soil moisture monitoring, or an appropriate combination thereof;

(B)

irrigation-related structural or other measures that conserve surface water or groundwater, including managed aquifer recovery practices; or

(C)

a transition to water-conserving crops, water-conserving crop rotations, or deficit irrigation.

;

(2)

by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (3);

(3)

by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

(2)

Eligibility of certain entities

(A)

In general

Notwithstanding section 1001(f)(6), the Secretary may enter into a contract under this subsection with a State, irrigation district, groundwater management district, acequia, land-grant mercedes, or similar entity under a streamlined contracting process to implement water conservation or irrigation practices under a watershed-wide project that will effectively conserve water, provide fish and wildlife habitat, or provide for drought-related environmental mitigation, as determined by the Secretary.

(B)

Implementation

Water conservation or irrigation practices that are the subject of a contract entered into under subparagraph (A) shall be implemented on—

(i)

eligible land of a producer; or

(ii)

land that is—

(I)

under the control of an irrigation district, groundwater management district, acequia, land-grant mercedes, or similar entity; and

(II)

adjacent to eligible land described in clause (i), as determined by the Secretary.

(C)

Waiver authority

The Secretary may waive the applicability of the limitations in section 1001D(b) or section 1240G for a payment made under a contract entered into under this paragraph if the Secretary determines that the waiver is necessary to fulfill the objectives of the project.

(D)

Contract limitations

If the Secretary grants a waiver under subparagraph (C), the Secretary may impose a separate payment limitation for the contract with respect to which the waiver applies.

;

(4)

in paragraph (3) (as so redesignated)—

(A)

in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking to a producer and inserting under this subsection;

(B)

in subparagraph (A), by striking the eligible land of the producer is located, there is a reduction in water use in the operation of the producer and inserting the land on which the practices will be implemented is located, there is a reduction in water use in the operation on that land; and

(C)

in subparagraph (B), by inserting except in the case of an application under paragraph (2), before the producer agrees; and

(5)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Effect

Nothing in this subsection authorizes the Secretary to modify the process for determining the annual allocation of funding to States under the program.

.

(f)

Payments for conservation practices related to organic production

Section 1240B(i)(3) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2(i)(3)) is amended—

(1)

in the first sentence, by striking Payments and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

Payments

;

(2)

in the second sentence, by striking In applying these limitations and inserting the following:

(B)

Technical assistance

In applying the limitations under subparagraph (A)

; and

(3)

in subparagraph (A) (as so designated)—

(A)

by striking aggregate, $20,000 per year or $80,000 during any 6-year period. and inserting the following: “aggregate—

(i)

through fiscal year 2018—

(I)

$20,000 per year; or

(II)

$80,000 during any 6-year period; and

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(ii)

during the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, $140,000.

.

(g)

Conservation incentive contracts

Section 1240B of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–2) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(j)

Conservation incentive contracts

(1)

Identification of eligible priority resource concerns for States

(A)

In general

The Secretary, in consultation with the applicable State technical committee established under section 1261(a), shall identify watersheds (or other appropriate regions or areas within a State) and the corresponding priority resource concerns for those watersheds or other regions or areas that are eligible to be the subject of an incentive contract under this subsection.

(B)

Limitation

For each of the relevant land uses within the watersheds, regions, or other areas identified under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall identify not more than 3 eligible priority resource concerns.

(2)

Contracts

(A)

Authority

(i)

In general

The Secretary shall enter into contracts with producers under this subsection that require the implementation, adoption, management, and maintenance of incentive practices that effectively address at least 1 eligible priority resource concern identified under paragraph (1) for the term of the contract.

(ii)

Inclusions

Through a contract entered into under clause (i), the Secretary may provide—

(I)

funding, through annual payments, for certain incentive practices to attain increased levels of conservation on eligible land; or

(II)

assistance, through a practice payment, to implement an incentive practice.

(B)

Term

A contract under this subsection shall have a term of not less than 5, and not more than 10, years.

(C)

Prioritization

Notwithstanding section 1240C, the Secretary shall develop criteria for evaluating incentive practice applications that—

(i)

give priority to applications that address eligible priority resource concerns identified under paragraph (1); and

(ii)

evaluate applications relative to other applications for similar agriculture and forest operations.

(3)

Incentive practice payments

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall provide payments to producers through contracts entered into under paragraph (2) for—

(i)

adopting and installing incentive practices; and

(ii)

managing, maintaining, and improving the incentive practices for the duration of the contract, as determined appropriate by the Secretary.

(B)

Payment amounts

In determining the amount of payments under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall consider, to the extent practicable—

(i)

the level and extent of the incentive practice to be installed, adopted, completed, maintained, managed, or improved;

(ii)

the cost of the installation, adoption, completion, management, maintenance, or improvement of the incentive practice;

(iii)

income foregone by the producer, including payments, as appropriate, to address—

(I)

increased economic risk;

(II)

loss in revenue due to anticipated reductions in yield; and

(III)

economic losses during transition to a resource-conserving cropping system or resource-conserving land use; and

(iv)

the extent to which compensation would ensure long-term continued maintenance, management, and improvement of the incentive practice.

(C)

Delivery of payments

In making payments under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall, to the extent practicable—

(i)

in the case of annual payments under paragraph (2)(A)(ii)(I), make those payments as soon as practicable after October 1 of each fiscal year for which increased levels of conservation are maintained during the term of the contract; and

(ii)

in the case of practice payments under paragraph (2)(A)(ii)(II), make those payments as soon as practicable on the implementation of an incentive practice.

.

2305.

Environmental quality incentives program plan

Section 1240E(a)(3) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–5(a)(3)) is amended by inserting progressive before implementation.

2306.

Limitation on payments under environmental quality incentives program

Section 1240G of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–7) is amended—

(1)

by striking A person and inserting Not including payments made under section 1240B(j), a person; and

(2)

by inserting or the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, after 2018,.

2307.

Conservation innovation grants and payments

(a)

Competitive grants for innovative conservation approaches

Section 1240H(a)(2) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–8(a)(2)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (A), by striking program; and inserting program or community colleges (as defined in section 1473E(a) of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3319e(a))) carrying out demonstration projects on land of the community college;;

(2)

by redesignating subparagraphs (E) and (F) as subparagraphs (G) and (H), respectively; and

(3)

by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following:

(E)

partner with farmers to develop innovative practices for urban, indoor, or other emerging agricultural operations;

(F)

utilize edge-of-field and other monitoring practices on farms—

(i)

to quantify the impacts of practices implemented under the program; and

(ii)

to assist producers in making the best conservation investments for the operations of the producers;

.

(b)

Air quality concerns from agricultural operations

Section 1240H(b)(2) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–8(b)(2)) is amended by striking $25,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2018 and inserting $37,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

(c)

On-Farm conservation innovation trials; reporting and database

Section 1240H of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa–8) is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:

(c)

On-Farm conservation innovation trials

(1)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Eligible entity

The term eligible entity means, as determined by the Secretary—

(i)

a third-party private entity the primary business of which is related to agriculture;

(ii)

a nongovernmental organization with experience working with agricultural producers; or

(iii)

a governmental organization.

(B)

New or innovative conservation approach

The term new or innovative conservation approach means—

(i)

new or innovative—

(I)

precision agriculture technologies;

(II)

enhanced nutrient management plans, nutrient recovery systems, and fertilization systems;

(III)

soil health management systems, including systems to increase soil carbon levels;

(IV)

water management systems;

(V)

resource-conserving crop rotations (as defined in section 1240L(d)(1));

(VI)

cover crops; and

(VII)

irrigation systems; and

(ii)

any other conservation approach approved by the Secretary as new or innovative.

(2)

Testing new or innovative conservation approaches

Using $25,000,000 of the funds made available to carry out this subchapter for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, the Secretary shall carry out on-farm conservation innovation trials, on eligible land of producers, to test new or innovative conservation approaches—

(A)

directly with producers; or

(B)

through eligible entities.

(3)

Incentive payments

(A)

Agreements

In carrying out paragraph (2), the Secretary shall enter into agreements with producers (either directly or through eligible entities) on whose land an on-farm conservation innovation trial is being carried out to provide payments (including payments to compensate for foregone income, as appropriate to address the increased economic risk potentially associated with new or innovative conservation approaches) to the producers to assist with adopting and evaluating new or innovative conservation approaches to achieve conservation benefits.

(B)

Adjusted Gross Income Requirements

(i)

In general

Adjusted gross income requirements under section 1001D(b)(1) shall—

(I)

apply to producers receiving payments under this subsection; and

(II)

be enforced by the Secretary.

(ii)

Reporting

An eligible entity participating in an on-farm conservation innovation trial under this subsection shall report annually to the Secretary on the amount of payments made to individual farm operations under this subsection.

(C)

Limitation on administrative expenses

None of the funds made available to carry out this subsection may be used to pay for the administrative expenses of an eligible entity.

(D)

Length of agreements

An agreement entered into under subparagraph (A) shall be for a period determined by the Secretary that is—

(i)

not less than 3 years; and

(ii)

if appropriate, more than 3 years, including if such a period is appropriate to support—

(I)

adaptive management over multiple crop years; and

(II)

adequate data collection and analysis by a producer or eligible entity to report the natural resource and agricultural production benefits of the new or innovative conservation approaches to the Secretary.

(4)

Flexible adoption

The scale of adoption of a new or innovative conservation approach under an on-farm conservation innovation trial under an agreement under paragraph (2) may include multiple scales on an operation, including whole farm, field-level, or sub-field scales.

(5)

Technical assistance

The Secretary shall provide technical assistance—

(A)

to each producer or eligible entity participating in an on-farm conservation innovation trial under paragraph (2) with respect to the design, installation, and management of the new or innovative conservation approaches; and

(B)

to each eligible entity participating in an on-farm conservation innovation trial under paragraph (2) with respect to data analyses of the on-farm conservation innovation trial.

(6)

Geographic scope

The Secretary shall identify a diversity of geographic regions of the United States in which to establish on-farm conservation innovation trials under paragraph (2), taking into account factors such as soil type, cropping history, and water availability.

(7)

Soil health demonstration trial

Using funds made available to carry out this subsection, the Secretary shall carry out a soil health demonstration trial under which the Secretary coordinates with eligible entities—

(A)

to provide incentives to producers to implement conservation practices that—

(i)

improve soil health;

(ii)

increase carbon levels in the soil; or

(iii)

meet the goals described in clauses (i) and (ii);

(B)

to establish protocols for measuring carbon levels in the soil and testing carbon levels on land where conservation practices described in subparagraph (A) were applied to evaluate gains in soil health as a result of the practices implemented by the producers in the soil health demonstration trial; and

(C)
(i)

not later than September 30, 2020, to initiate a study regarding changes in soil health and, if feasible, economic outcomes, generated as a result of the conservation practices described in subparagraph (A) that were applied by producers through the soil health demonstration trial; and

(ii)

to submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate annual reports on the progress and results of the study under clause (i).

(d)

Reporting and database

(1)

Report required

Not later than September 30, 2019, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report on the status of activities funded under this section, including—

(A)

funding awarded;

(B)

results of the activities, including, if feasible, economic outcomes;

(C)

incorporation of findings from the activities, such as new technology and innovative approaches, into the conservation efforts implemented by the Secretary; and

(D)

on completion of the study required under subsection (c)(7)(C), the findings of the study.

(2)

Conservation practice database

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall use the data reported under paragraph (1) to establish and maintain a publicly available conservation practice database that provides—

(i)

a compilation and analysis of effective conservation practices for soil health, nutrient management, and source water protection in varying soil compositions, cropping systems, slopes, and landscapes; and

(ii)

a list of recommended new and effective conservation practices.

(B)

Privacy

Information provided under subparagraph (A) shall be transformed into a statistical or aggregate form so as to not include any identifiable or personal information of individual producers.

.

2308.

Conservation stewardship program

(a)

Definitions

Section 1240I of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as redesignated by section 2301(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2)(B)—

(A)

in clause (i), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in clause (ii), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(iii)

development of a comprehensive conservation plan, as defined in section 1240L(e)(1);

(iv)

soil health planning, including planning to increase soil organic matter; and

(v)

activities that will assist a producer to adapt to, or mitigate against, increasing weather volatility.

; and

(2)

in paragraph (7), by striking the period at the end and inserting the following:

through the use of—

(A)

quality criteria under a resource management system;

(B)

predictive analytics tools or models developed or approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service;

(C)

data from past and current enrollment in the program; and

(D)

other methods that measure conservation and improvement in priority resource concerns, as determined by the Secretary.

.

(b)

Conservation stewardship program

(1)

Establishment

Subsection (a) of section 1240J of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as redesignated by section 2301(b)) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking 2014 through 2018 and inserting 2019 through 2023.

(2)

Exclusions

Subsection (b)(2) of section 1240J of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as redesignated by section 2301(b)) is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking the Agricultural Act of 2014 and inserting the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

(c)

Stewardship contracts

Section 1240K of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as redesignated by section 2301(b)) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b), by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

(1)

Ranking of applications

(A)

In general

In evaluating contract offers submitted under subsection (a) and contract renewals under subsection (e), the Secretary shall rank applications based on—

(i)

the natural resource conservation and environmental benefits that result from the conservation treatment on all applicable priority resource concerns at the time of submission of the application;

(ii)

the degree to which the proposed conservation activities increase natural resource conservation and environmental benefits; and

(iii)

other consistent criteria, as determined by the Secretary.

(B)

Additional criterion

If 2 or more applications receive the same ranking under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall rank those contracts based on the extent to which the actual and anticipated conservation benefits from each contract are provided at the lowest cost relative to other similarly beneficial contract offers.

;

(2)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

by striking the program under subsection (a) and inserting a contract or contract renewal under this section;

(B)

by inserting or contract renewal before offer ranks;

(C)

by inserting or contract renewal after stewardship contract; and

(D)

by adding or contract renewal before the period at the end;

(3)

in subsection (d)(2)(A), by striking 1238G(d) and inserting 1240L(c); and

(4)

in subsection (e)—

(A)

in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking At the end and all that follows through period the second place it appears and inserting the following: The Secretary may provide the producer an opportunity to renew an existing contract in the first half of the fifth year of the contract period;

(B)

in paragraph (1), by striking initial and inserting existing;

(C)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

by inserting new or improved after integrate; and

(ii)

by inserting demonstrating continued improvement during the additional 5-year period, after operation,; and

(D)

in paragraph (3)(B), by striking to exceed the stewardship threshold of and inserting to adopt or improve conservation activities, as determined by the Secretary, to achieve higher levels of performance with respect to not less than.

(d)

Duties of Secretary

Section 1240L of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as redesignated by section 2301(b)) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking acres and inserting funding;

(2)

by striking subsection (c);

(3)

by redesignating subsections (d) and (e) as subsections (c) and (d), respectively;

(4)

in subsection (c) (as so redesignated), by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Payment for cover crop activities

The amount of a payment under this subsection for cover crop activities shall be not less than 125 percent of the annual payment amount determined by the Secretary under paragraph (2).

;

(5)

in subsection (d) (as so redesignated)—

(A)

in the subsection heading, by inserting and advanced grazing management after rotations;

(B)

by striking paragraph (2);

(C)

by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (4) as paragraphs (2) and (1), respectively, and moving the paragraphs so as to appear in numerical order;

(D)

in paragraph (1) (as so redesignated)—

(i)

by redesignating subparagraphs (A) through (D) and (E) as clauses (i) through (iv) and (vi), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(ii)

by striking the paragraph designation and all that follows through the term in the matter preceding clause (i) (as so redesignated) and inserting the following:

(1)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Advanced grazing management

The term advanced grazing management means the use of a combination of grazing practices (as determined by the Secretary), which may include management-intensive rotational grazing, that provide for—

(i)

improved soil health and carbon sequestration;

(ii)

drought resilience;

(iii)

wildlife habitat;

(iv)

wildfire mitigation;

(v)

control of invasive plants; and

(vi)

water quality improvement.

(B)

Management-intensive rotational grazing

The term management-intensive rotational grazing means a strategic, adaptively managed multipasture grazing system in which animals are regularly and systematically moved to fresh pasture in a manner that—

(i)

maximizes the quantity and quality of forage growth;

(ii)

improves manure distribution and nutrient cycling;

(iii)

increases carbon sequestration from greater forage harvest;

(iv)

improves the quality and quantity of cover for wildlife;

(v)

provides permanent cover to protect the soil from erosion; and

(vi)

improves water quality.

(C)

Resource-conserving crop rotation

The term

; and

(iii)

in subparagraph (C) (as so designated)—

(I)

in clause (iv) (as so redesignated), by striking and at the end; and

(II)

by inserting after clause (iv) (as so redesignated) the following:

(v)

builds soil organic matter; and

;

(E)

in paragraph (2) (as so redesignated), by striking improve resource-conserving and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting the following:

improve, manage, and maintain—

(A)

resource-conserving crop rotations; or

(B)

advanced grazing management.

;

(F)

in paragraph (3)—

(i)

by striking paragraph (1) and inserting paragraph (2); and

(ii)

by striking and maintain and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting or improve, manage, and maintain resource-conserving crop rotations or advanced grazing management for the term of the contract.; and

(G)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Amount of payment

An additional payment provided under paragraph (2) shall be not less than 150 percent of the annual payment amount determined by the Secretary under subsection (c)(2).

;

(6)

by inserting after subsection (d) (as so redesignated) the following:

(e)

Payment for comprehensive conservation plan

(1)

Definition of comprehensive conservation plan

In this subsection, the term comprehensive conservation plan means a conservation plan that meets or exceeds the stewardship threshold for each priority resource concern identified by the Secretary under subsection (a)(2).

(2)

Payment for comprehensive conservation plan

The Secretary shall provide a 1-time payment to a producer that develops a comprehensive conservation plan.

(3)

Amount of payment

The Secretary shall determine the amount of payment under paragraph (2) based on—

(A)

the number of priority resource concerns addressed in the comprehensive conservation plan; and

(B)

the number of types of land uses included in the comprehensive conservation plan.

;

(7)

in subsection (f), by striking 2014 through 2018 and inserting 2019 through 2023;

(8)

in subsection (h)—

(A)

by striking the subsection designation and heading and all that follows through The Secretary and inserting the following:

(h)

Organic certification

(1)

Coordination

The Secretary

; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Allocation

(A)

In general

Using funds made available for the program for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, the Secretary shall allocate funding to States to support organic production and transition to organic production through paragraph (1).

(B)

Determination

The Secretary shall determine the allocation to a State under subparagraph (A) based on—

(i)

the number of certified and transitioning organic operations within the State; and

(ii)

the number of acres of certified and transitioning organic production within the State.

; and

(9)

by adding at the end the following:

(j)

Streamlining and coordination

To the maximum extent feasible, the Secretary shall provide for streamlined and coordinated procedures for the program and the environmental quality incentives program under subchapter A, including applications, contracting, conservation planning, conservation practices, and related administrative procedures.

(k)

Soil health

To the maximum extent feasible, the Secretary shall manage the program to enhance soil health.

(l)

Annual report

Each fiscal year, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report describing the payment rates for conservation activities offered to producers under the program and an analysis of whether payment rates can be reduced for the most expensive conservation activities.

.

2309.

Grassland conservation initiative

Subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as added by subsections (a)(2) and (b) of section 2301) is amended by adding at the end the following:

1240L–1.

Grassland conservation initiative

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Eligible land

Notwithstanding sections 1240I(4) and 1240J(b)(2), the term eligible land means cropland on a farm for which base acres have been maintained by the Secretary under section 1112(d)(3) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9012(d)(3)).

(2)

Initiative

The term initiative means the grassland conservation initiative established under subsection (b).

(b)

Establishment and purpose

The Secretary shall establish within the program a grassland conservation initiative for the purpose of assisting producers in protecting grazing uses, conserving and improving soil, water, and wildlife resources, and achieving related conservation values by conserving eligible land through grassland conservation contracts under subsection (e).

(c)

Election

Beginning in fiscal year 2019, the Secretary shall provide a 1-time election to enroll eligible land in the initiative under a contract described in subsection (e).

(d)

Method of enrollment

The Secretary shall—

(1)

notwithstanding subsection (b) of section 1240K, determine under subsection (c) of that section that eligible land ranks sufficiently high under the evaluation criteria described in subsection (b) of that section; and

(2)

enroll the eligible land in the initiative under a contract described in subsection (e).

(e)

Grassland conservation contract

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding section 1240K(a)(1), to enroll eligible land in the initiative under a grassland conservation contract, a producer shall agree—

(A)

to meet or exceed the stewardship threshold for not less than 1 priority resource concern by the date on which the contract expires; and

(B)

to comply with the terms and conditions of the contract.

(2)

Terms

A grassland conservation contract entered into under this section shall—

(A)
(i)

be for a single 5-year term; and

(ii)

not be subject to renewal or reenrollment under section 1240K(e); and

(B)

be subject to section 1240K(d).

(3)

Early termination

The Secretary shall allow a producer that enters into a grassland conservation contract under this section—

(A)

to terminate the contract at any time; and

(B)

to retain payments already received under the contract.

(f)

Grassland conservation plan

The grassland conservation plan developed for eligible land shall be limited to—

(1)

eligible land; and

(2)

resource concerns and activities relating to grassland.

(g)

Payments

(1)

In general

Beginning in fiscal year 2019, of the funds made available for this subchapter under section 1241(a)(3)(B), and notwithstanding any payment under title I of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, an amendment made by that title, or section 1240L(c), the Secretary shall make annual grassland conservation contract payments to the producer of any eligible land that is the subject of a grassland conservation contract under this section.

(2)

Payment noneligibility

A grassland conservation contract under this section shall not be—

(A)

eligible for payments under section 1240L(d); or

(B)

subject to the payment limitations under this subchapter.

(3)

Limitation

The amount of an annual payment under this subsection shall be $18 per acre, not to exceed the number of base acres on a farm.

(h)

Considered planted

The Secretary shall consider land enrolled under a grassland conservation contract under this section during a crop year to be planted or considered planted to a covered commodity (as defined in section 1111 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (7 U.S.C. 9011)) during that crop year.

(i)

Other contracts

A producer with an agricultural operation that contains land eligible under this section and land eligible under section 1240K—

(1)

may enroll the land eligible under this section through a contract under this section or under section 1240K; and

(2)

shall not be prohibited from enrolling the land eligible under section 1240K through a contract under section 1240K.

.

D

Other Conservation Programs

2401.

Watershed protection and flood prevention

(a)

Assistance to local organizations

Section 3 of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (16 U.S.C. 1003) is amended—

(1)

by striking the section designation and all that follows through In order to assist and inserting the following:

3.

Assistance to local organizations

(a)

In general

In order to assist

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

Waiver

The Secretary may waive the watershed plan for works of improvement if the Secretary determines that—

(1)

the watershed plan is unnecessary or duplicative; and

(2)

the works of improvement are otherwise consistent with applicable requirements under section 4.

.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

Section 14(h)(2)(E) of the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (16 U.S.C. 1012(h)(2)(E)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(c)

Funds of Commodity Credit Corporation

The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (16 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

15.

Funding

In addition to any other funds made available by this Act, of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall make available to carry out this Act $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2019 and each fiscal year thereafter.

.

2402.

Soil and water resources conservation

The Soil and Water Resources Conservation Act of 1977 (16 U.S.C. 2001 et seq.) is amended—

(1)

in section 5(e) (16 U.S.C. 2004(e)), by striking and December 31, 2015 and inserting December 31, 2015, and December 31, 2022;

(2)

in section 6(d) (16 U.S.C. 2005(d)), by striking , respectively and inserting , and a program update shall be completed by December 31, 2023;

(3)

in section 7 (16 U.S.C. 2006)—

(A)

in subsection (a), by striking and 2016 and inserting , 2016, and 2022; and

(B)

in subsection (b), in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking and 2017 and inserting , 2017, and 2023; and

(4)

in section 10 (16 U.S.C. 2009), by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

2403.

Emergency conservation program

(a)

Repair or replacement of fencing

(1)

In general

Section 401 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2201) is amended—

(A)

by inserting wildfires, after hurricanes,;

(B)

by striking the section designation and all that follows through The Secretary of Agriculture and inserting the following:

401.

Emergency conservation program

(a)

In general

The Secretary of Agriculture (referred to in this title as the Secretary)

; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(b)

Repair or replacement of fencing

(1)

In general

With respect to a payment to an agricultural producer under subsection (a) for the repair or replacement of fencing, the Secretary shall give the agricultural producer the option of receiving not more than 25 percent of the payment, determined by the Secretary based on the applicable percentage of the fair market value of the cost of the repair or replacement, before the agricultural producer carries out the repair or replacement.

(2)

Return of funds

If the funds provided under paragraph (1) are not expended by the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date on which the agricultural producer receives those funds, the funds shall be returned within a reasonable timeframe, as determined by the Secretary.

.

(2)

Conforming amendments

(A)

Sections 402, 403, 404, and 405 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2202, 2203, 2204, 2205) are amended by striking Secretary of Agriculture each place it appears and inserting Secretary.

(B)

Section 407(a) of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2206(a)) is amended by striking paragraph (4).

(b)

Cost share payments

Title IV of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 is amended by inserting after section 402 (16 U.S.C. 2202) the following:

402A.

Cost-share requirement

(a)

Cost-share rate

Subject to subsections (b) and (c), the maximum cost-share payment under sections 401 and 402 shall not exceed 75 percent of the total allowable cost, as determined by the Secretary.

(b)

Exception

Notwithstanding subsection (a), a payment to a limited resource farmer or rancher, a socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher (as defined in subsection (a) of section 2501 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 2279), or a beginning farmer or rancher under section 401 or 402 shall not exceed 90 percent of the total allowable cost, as determined by the Secretary.

(c)

Limitation

The total payment under sections 401 and 402 for a single event may not exceed 50 percent of the agriculture value of the land, as determined by the Secretary.

.

(c)

Payment limitations

Title IV of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2201 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 402A (as added by subsection (b)) the following:

402B.

Payment limitation

The maximum payment made under the emergency conservation program to an agricultural producer under sections 401 and 402 shall not exceed $500,000.

.

(d)

Watershed protection program

Section 403 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2203) is amended—

(1)

by striking the section heading and inserting Emergency watershed program; and

(2)

in subsection (a), by inserting watershed protection after emergency.

(e)

Funding and administration

Section 404 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2204) is amended—

(1)

in the fourth sentence, by striking The Corporation and inserting the following:

(d)

Limitation

The Commodity Credit Corporation

;

(2)

in the third sentence (as amended by subsection (a)(2)(A)), by striking In implementing the provisions of and inserting the following:

(c)

Use of Commodity Credit Corporation

In implementing

;

(3)

by striking the second sentence;

(4)

by striking the section designation and all that follows through There are authorized in the first sentence and inserting the following:

404.

Funding and administration

(a)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized

;

(5)

in subsection (a) (as so designated), by inserting , to remain available until expended before the period at the end; and

(6)

by inserting after subsection (a) (as so designated) the following:

(b)

Set-aside for fencing

Of the amounts made available under subsection (a) for a fiscal year, 25 percent shall be set aside until April 1 of that fiscal year for the repair or replacement of fencing.

.

2404.

Conservation of private grazing land

Section 1240M of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839bb) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (c)(2), by adding at the end the following:

(C)

Partnerships

In carrying out the program under this section, the Secretary shall provide education and outreach activities through partnerships with—

(i)

land-grant colleges and universities (as defined in section 1404 of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 (7 U.S.C. 3103)); and

(ii)

nongovernmental organizations.

; and

(2)

in subsection (e), by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

2405.

Grassroots source water protection program

(a)

Authorization of appropriations

Section 1240O(b)(1) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839bb–2(b)(1)) is amended by striking 2018 and inserting 2023.

(b)

Availability of funds

Section 1240O(b) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839bb–2(b)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Additional funding

In addition to any other funds made available under this subsection, of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall use $5,000,000 beginning in fiscal year 2019, to remain available until expended.

.

2406.

Voluntary public access and habitat incentive program

Section 1240R of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839bb–5) is amended—

(1)

in subsections (a) and (c), by striking grants each place it appears and inserting funding;

(2)

in subsections (b) and (d)(2), by striking a grant each place it appears and inserting funding;

(3)

in subsection (c)(3) (as amended by section 2202(b)(1)), by inserting or on land covered by a wetland reserve easement under section 1265C before by providing; and

(4)

in subsection (f)—

(A)

in paragraph (1)—

(i)

by striking 2012 and and inserting 2012,; and

(ii)

by inserting , and $50,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023 before the period at the end;

(B)

by redesignating paragraph (2) as paragraph (3); and

(C)

by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

(2)

Enhanced public access to wetland reserve easements

To the maximum extent practicable, of the funds made available under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall use $3,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023 to encourage public access to land covered by wetland reserve easements under section 1265C through agreements with States and tribal governments under this section.

.

2407.

Wildlife management

(a)

In general

The Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior shall continue to carry out the Working Lands for Wildlife model of conservation on working landscapes, as implemented on the day before the date of enactment of this Act, in accordance with—

(1)

the document entitled Partnership Agreement Between the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and the United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, numbered A–3A7516–937, and formalized by the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service on September 15, 2016, and by the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on August 4, 2016, as in effect on September 15, 2016; and

(2)

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Director’s Order No. 217, dated August 9, 2016, as in effect on August 9, 2016.

(b)

Expansion of model

The Secretary and the Secretary of the Interior may expand the conservation model described in subsection (a) through a new partnership agreement between the Farm Service Agency and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for the purpose of carrying out conservation activities for species conservation.

(c)

Extension of period of regulatory predictability

(1)

Definition of period of regulatory predictability

In this subsection, the term period of regulatory predictability means the period of regulatory predictability under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) initially determined in accordance with the document and order described in paragraphs (1) and (2), respectively, of subsection (a).

(2)

Extension

After the period of regulatory predictability, on request of the Secretary, the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, may provide additional consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)), or additional conference under section 7(a)(4) of that Act (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(4)), as applicable, with the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service or the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency, as applicable, to extend the period of regulatory predictability.

2408.

Feral swine eradication and control pilot program

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall establish a feral swine eradication and control pilot program to respond to the threat feral swine pose to agriculture, native ecosystems, and human and animal health.

(b)

Duties of the Secretary

In carrying out the pilot program, the Secretary shall—

(1)

study and assess the nature and extent of damage to the pilot areas caused by feral swine;

(2)

develop methods to eradicate or control feral swine in the pilot areas;

(3)

develop methods to restore damage caused by feral swine; and

(4)

provide financial assistance to agricultural producers in pilot areas.

(c)

Assistance

The Secretary may provide financial assistance to agricultural producers under the pilot program to implement methods to—

(1)

eradicate or control feral swine in the pilot areas; and

(2)

restore damage caused by feral swine.

(d)

Coordination

The Secretary shall ensure that the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service coordinate for purposes of this section through State technical committees established under section 1261(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3861(a)).

(e)

Pilot areas

The Secretary shall carry out the pilot program in areas of States in which feral swine have been identified as a threat to agriculture, native ecosystems, or human or animal health, as determined by the Secretary.

(f)

Cost sharing

(1)

Federal share

The Federal share of the costs of activities under the pilot program may not exceed 75 percent of the total costs of such activities.

(2)

In-Kind contributions

The non-Federal share of the costs of activities under the pilot program may be provided in the form of in-kind contributions of materials or services.

(g)

Funding

(1)

Mandatory funding

Of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall use to carry out this section $75,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

(2)

Distribution of funds

Of the funds made available under paragraph (1)—

(A)

50 percent shall be allocated to the Natural Resources Conservation Service to carry out the pilot program, including the provision of financial assistance to producers for on-farm trapping and technology related to capturing and confining feral swine; and

(B)

50 percent shall be allocated to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to carry out the pilot program, including the use of established, and testing of innovative, population reduction methods.

(3)

Limitation on administrative expenses

Not more than 10 percent of funds made available under this section may be used for administrative expenses of the pilot program.

2409.

Report on small wetlands

(a)

In general

The Secretary, acting through the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report describing the number of wetlands with an area not more than 1 acre that have been delineated in each of the States of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa during fiscal years 2014 through 2018.

(b)

Requirement

In the report under subsection (a), the Secretary, acting through the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, shall list the number of wetlands acres in each State described in the report by tenths of an acre, and ensure the report is based on the best available science.

2410.

Sense of Congress relating to increased watershed-based collaboration

It is the sense of Congress that the Federal Government should recognize and encourage partnerships at the watershed level between nonpoint sources and regulated point sources to advance the goals of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) and provide benefits to farmers, landowners, and the public.

E

Funding and Administration

2501.

Commodity Credit Corporation

(a)

Annual funding

Section 1241(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841(a)) is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking 2018 (and fiscal year 2019 in the case of the program specified in paragraph (5)) and inserting 2023;

(2)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A), by striking $10,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2014 through 2018 and inserting $12,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023; and

(B)

in subparagraph (B)—

(i)

by striking $33,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2014 through 2018 and inserting $50,000,000 for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, including not more than $5,000,000 to provide outreach and technical assistance,; and

(ii)

by striking retired or retiring owners and operators and inserting contract holders;

(3)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

in subparagraph (D), by striking and at the end;

(B)

in subparagraph (E), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(F)

$450,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

;

(4)

by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

(3)

The programs under chapter 4, using, to the maximum extent practicable—

(A)

for the environmental quality incentives program under subchapter A of that chapter—

(i)

$1,750,000,000 for fiscal year 2019;

(ii)

$1,750,000,000 for fiscal year 2020;

(iii)

$1,800,000,000 for fiscal year 2021;

(iv)

$1,850,000,000 for fiscal year 2022; and

(v)

$2,025,000,000 for fiscal year 2023; and

(B)

for the conservation stewardship program under subchapter B of that chapter—

(i)

$700,000,000 for fiscal year 2019;

(ii)

$725,000,000 for fiscal year 2020;

(iii)

$750,000,000 for fiscal year 2021;

(iv)

$800,000,000 for fiscal year 2022; and

(v)

$1,000,000,000 for fiscal year 2023.

;

(5)

in paragraph (4), by inserting (as in effect on the day before the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018), using such sums as are necessary to administer contracts entered into before that date of enactment before the period at the end; and

(6)

by striking paragraph (5).

(b)

Availability of funds

Section 1241(b) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841(b)) is amended by striking 2018 (and fiscal year 2019 in the case of the program specified in subsection (a)(5)) and inserting 2023.

(c)

Report on program enrollments and assistance

Section 1241(i) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841(i)) is amended to read as follows:

(i)

Report on program enrollments and assistance

Not later than December 15 of each of calendar years 2019 through 2023, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate an annual report containing statistics by State related to enrollments in conservation programs under this title, as follows:

(1)

The annual and current cumulative activity reflecting active agreement and contract enrollment statistics.

(2)

Secretarial exceptions, waivers, and significant payments, including—

(A)

payments made under the agricultural conservation easement program for easements valued at $250,000 or greater;

(B)

payments made under the regional conservation partnership program subject to the waiver of adjusted gross income limitations pursuant to section 1271C(c)(3);

(C)

waivers granted by the Secretary under section 1001D(b)(3);

(D)

exceptions and activity associated with section 1240B(h)(2); and

(E)

exceptions provided by the Secretary under section 1265B(b)(2)(B)(ii).

.

(d)

Allocations review and update

Section 1241(g) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841(g)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking January and all that follows through shall and inserting 1 year after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the Secretary, acting through the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Administrator of the Farm Service Agency, shall;

(B)

by inserting annual after utilize; and

(C)

by inserting relevant data on local natural resource concerns, resource inventories, evaluations and reports, recommendations from State technical committees established under section 1261(a), after accounting for; and

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

by striking that the formulas and inserting the following:

that—

(A)

the formulas

;

(B)

in subparagraph (A) (as so designated), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

to the maximum extent practicable, local natural resource concerns are considered a leading factor in determining annual funding allocation to States;

(C)

the process used at the national level to evaluate State budget proposals and to allocate funds is reviewed annually to assess the effect of allocations in addressing identified natural resource priorities and objectives; and

(D)

the allocation of funds to States addresses priority natural resource concerns and objectives.

.

(e)

Assistance to certain farmers or ranchers for conservation access

Section 1241(h) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841(h)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as clauses (i) and (ii), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(B)

in the matter preceding clause (i) (as so redesignated), by striking Of the funds and inserting the following:

(A)

Fiscal years 2009 through 2018

Of the funds

; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

Fiscal years 2019 through 2023

Of the funds made available for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023 to carry out the environmental quality incentives program under subchapter A of chapter 4 of subtitle D and the conservation stewardship program under subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D, the Secretary shall use, to the maximum extent practicable—

(i)

5 percent to assist beginning farmers or ranchers; and

(ii)

5 percent to assist socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.

;

(2)

in paragraph (2), by inserting and, in the case of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, under the conservation stewardship program under subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D before the period at the end;

(3)

in paragraph (3), by striking year, acres not obligated under paragraph (1) and inserting year through fiscal year 2018, acres not obligated under paragraph (1)(A); and

(4)

in paragraph (4), by striking subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) and inserting , as applicable, clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (1)(A) or clause (i) or (ii) of paragraph (1)(B).

(f)

Conservation standards and requirements

Section 1241 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(j)

Conservation standards and requirements

(1)

In general

Subject to the requirements of this title, the Natural Resources Conservation Service shall serve as the lead agency in developing and establishing technical standards and requirements for conservation programs carried out under this title, including—

(A)

standards for conservation practices under this title;

(B)

technical guidelines for implementing conservation practices under this title, including the location of the conservation practices; and

(C)

standards for conservation plans.

(2)

Consistency of Farm Service Agency technical standards and payment rates

The Administrator of the Farm Service Agency shall ensure that—

(A)

technical standards of programs administered by the Farm Service Agency are consistent with the technical standards established by the Natural Resources Conservation Service under paragraph (1); and

(B)

payment rates, to the extent practicable, are consistent between the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

.

2502.

Delivery of technical assistance

(a)

Definitions

Section 1242(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3842(a)) is amended to read as follows:

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Eligible participant

The term eligible participant means a producer, landowner, or entity that is participating in, or seeking to participate in, programs in which the producer, landowner, or entity is otherwise eligible to participate under this title or the agricultural management assistance program under section 524(b) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1524(b)).

(2)

Third-party provider

The term third-party provider means a commercial entity (including a farmer cooperative, agriculture retailer, or other commercial entity (as defined by the Secretary)), a nonprofit entity, a State or local government (including a conservation district), or a Federal agency, that has expertise in the technical aspect of conservation planning, including nutrient management planning, watershed planning, or environmental engineering.

.

(b)

Certification process

Section 1242(e) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3842(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(4)

Certification process

The Secretary shall certify a third-party provider through—

(A)

a certification process administered by the Secretary, acting through the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service; or

(B)

a non-Federal entity approved by the Secretary to perform the certification.

(5)

Streamlined certification

The Secretary shall provide a streamlined certification process for a third-party provider that has an appropriate specialty certification, including a sustainability certification.

.

(c)

Expedited revision of standards

Section 1242(h) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3842(h)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following:

(A)

not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, complete a review of each conservation practice standard, including engineering design specifications, in effect on the day before the date of enactment of that Act;

;

(B)

in subparagraph (B), by striking and at the end;

(C)

in subparagraph (C), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(D)

evaluate opportunities to increase flexibility in conservation practice standards in a manner that ensures equivalent natural resource benefits.

;

(2)

in paragraph (2), by inserting State technical committees established under section 1261(a), before crop consultants; and

(3)

by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following:

(3)

Expedited revision of standards

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the Secretary shall develop for the programs under this title an administrative process for—

(A)

expediting the establishment and revision of conservation practice standards;

(B)

considering conservation innovations and scientific and technological advancements with respect to any establishment or revision under subparagraph (A);

(C)

allowing local flexibility in the creation of—

(i)

interim practice standards and supplements to existing practice standards to address the considerations described in subparagraph (B); and

(ii)

partnership-led proposals for new and innovative techniques to facilitate implementing agreements and grants under this title; and

(D)

soliciting regular input from State technical committees established under section 1261(a) for recommendations that identify innovations or advancements described in subparagraph (B).

(4)

Report

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on—

(A)

the administrative process developed under paragraph (3);

(B)

conservation practice standards that were established or revised under that process; and

(C)

conservation innovations that were considered under that process.

.

2503.

Administrative requirements for conservation programs

(a)

Acreage limitations

Section 1244(f) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844(f)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)(B), by striking 10 and inserting 15; and

(2)

in paragraph (5), by striking the Agricultural Act of 2014 and inserting the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

(b)

Requirements for conservation programs

Section 1244 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844) is amended—

(1)

by striking subsection (m);

(2)

by redesignating subsections (j) through (l) as subsections (k) through (m), respectively; and

(3)

by inserting after subsection (i) the following:

(j)

Review and guidance for practice costs and payment rates

(1)

In general

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, and not later than October 1 of each year thereafter, the Secretary shall—

(A)

review the estimates for practice costs and rates of payments made to producers for practices on eligible land under this title; and

(B)

evaluate whether those costs and rates reflect a payment that—

(i)

encourages participation in a conservation program administered by the Secretary;

(ii)

encourages implementation of the most effective practices to address local natural resource concerns on eligible land; and

(iii)

accounts for regional, State, and local variability relating to the complexity, implementation, and adoption of practices on eligible land.

(2)

Guidance; review

The Secretary shall—

(A)

issue guidance to States to annually review and adjust the estimates for practice costs and rates of payments made to producers to reflect the evaluation factors described in paragraph (1)(B); and

(B)

determine the appropriate practice costs and rates of payments for each State by—

(i)

annually reviewing each conservation program payment schedule and payment rate used in the State; and

(ii)

consulting with the State technical committee established under section 1261(a) in that State.

.

(c)

Funding for Indian Tribes

Section 1244(m) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as redesignated by subsection (b)(2)) is amended—

(1)

by striking may and inserting shall;

(2)

by striking that the goals and inserting the following:

that—

(1)

the goals

;

(3)

in paragraph (1) (as so designated), by striking arrangements, and that statutory and inserting the following:

arrangements;

(2)

a sufficient number of eligible participants will be aggregated under the alternative funding arrangement to accomplish the underlying purposes and objectives of the applicable program; and

(3)

statutory

; and

(4)

in paragraph (3) (as so designated), by striking the period at the end and inserting , except that the Secretary may approve a waiver if the Secretary is authorized to approve a waiver under the statutory authority of the applicable program..

(d)

Source water protection through targeting of agricultural practices

Section 1244 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844) (as amended by subsection (b)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(n)

Source water protection through targeting of agricultural practices

(1)

In general

In carrying out any conservation program administered by the Secretary, the Secretary shall encourage practices that relate to water quality and water quantity that protect source water for drinking water (including protecting against public health threats) while also benefitting agricultural producers.

(2)

Collaboration with water systems and increased incentives

(A)

In general

In encouraging practices under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall—

(i)

work collaboratively with community water systems and State technical committees established under section 1261(a) to identify, in each State, local priority areas for the protection of source waters for drinking water; and

(ii)

subject to subparagraph (B), for practices described in paragraph (1), offer to producers increased incentives and higher payment rates than are otherwise statutorily authorized by the applicable conservation program administered by the Secretary.

(B)

Limitation

An increased payment under subparagraph (A)(ii) shall not exceed 90 percent of practice costs associated with planning, design, materials, equipment, installation, labor, management, maintenance, or training.

(3)

Reservation of funds

(A)

In general

In each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, the Secretary shall use to carry out this subsection not less than 10 percent of any funds available for conservation programs administered by the Secretary under this title (other than the conservation reserve program established under subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D).

(B)

Limitation

Funds available for a specific conservation program shall not be transferred to fund a different conservation program under this title.

.

(e)

Environmental services market

Section 1244 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844) (as amended by subsection (d)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(o)

Environmental services market

The Secretary may not prohibit, through a contract, easement, or agreement under this title, a participant in a conservation program administered by the Secretary under this title from participating in, and receiving compensation from, an environmental services market if 1 of the purposes of the market is the facilitation of additional conservation benefits that are consistent with the purposes of the conservation program administered by the Secretary.

.

(f)

Regulatory certainty

Section 1244 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844) (as amended by subsection (e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(p)

Regulatory certainty

(1)

In general

In addition to technical and programmatic information that the Secretary is otherwise authorized to provide, on request of a Federal agency, a State, an Indian tribe, or a unit of local government, the Secretary may provide technical and programmatic information—

(A)

subject to paragraph (2), to the Federal agency, State, Indian tribe, or unit of local government to support specifically the development of mechanisms that would provide regulatory certainty, regulatory predictability, safe harbor protection, or other similar regulatory assurances to a farmer, rancher, or private nonindustrial forest landowner under a regulatory requirement—

(i)

that relates to soil, water, or wildlife; and

(ii)

over which that Federal agency, State, Indian tribe, or unit of local government has authority; and

(B)

relating to conservation practices or activities that could be implemented by a farmer, rancher, or private nonindustrial forest landowner to address a targeted soil, water, or wildlife resource concern that is the direct subject of a regulatory requirement enforced by that Federal agency, State, Indian tribe, or unit of local government, as applicable.

(2)

Mechanisms

The Secretary shall only provide additional technical and programmatic information under paragraph (1) if the mechanisms to be developed by the Federal agency, State, Indian tribe, or unit of local government, as applicable, under paragraph (1)(A) are anticipated to include, at a minimum—

(A)

the implementation of 1 or more conservation practices or activities that effectively addresses the soil, water, or wildlife resource concern identified under paragraph (1);

(B)

the on-site confirmation that the applicable conservation practices or activities identified under subparagraph (A) have been implemented;

(C)

a plan for a periodic audit, as appropriate, of the continued implementation or maintenance of each of the conservation practices or activities identified under subparagraph (A); and

(D)

notification to a farmer, rancher, or private nonindustrial forest landowner of, and an opportunity to correct, any noncompliance with a requirement to obtain regulatory certainty, regulatory predictability, safe harbor protection, or other similar regulatory assurance.

(3)

Continuing current collaboration on soil, water, or wildlife conservation practices

The Secretary shall—

(A)

continue collaboration with Federal agencies, States, Indian tribes, or local units of government on existing regulatory certainty, regulatory predictability, safe harbor protection, or other similar regulatory assurances in accordance with paragraph (2); and

(B)

continue collaboration with the Secretary of the Interior on consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(2)) or conference under section 7(a)(4) of that Act (16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(4)), as applicable, for wildlife conservation efforts, including the Working Lands for Wildlife model of conservation on working landscapes, as implemented on the day before the date of enactment of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, in accordance with—

(i)

the document entitled Partnership Agreement Between the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and the United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, numbered A–3A75–16–937, and formalized by the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service on September 15, 2016, and by the Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on August 4, 2016, as in effect on September 15, 2016; and

(ii)

United States Fish and Wildlife Service Director’s Order No. 217, dated August 9, 2016, as in effect on August 9, 2016.

(4)

Savings clause

Nothing in this subsection—

(A)

preempts, displaces, or supplants any authority or right of a Federal agency, a State, an Indian tribe, or a unit of local government;

(B)

modifies or otherwise affects, preempts, or displaces—

(i)

any cause of action; or

(ii)

a provision of Federal or State law establishing a remedy for a civil or criminal cause of action; or

(C)

applies to a case in which the Department of Agriculture is the originating agency requesting a consultation or other technical and programmatic information or assistance from another Federal agency in assisting farmers, ranchers, or nonindustrial private forest landowners participating in a conservation program administered by the Secretary.

.

2504.

Temporary administration of conservation programs

(a)

Interim administration

Subject to subsection (d), the Secretary shall use the applicable regulations in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act, to the extent that the terms and conditions of those regulations are consistent with the amendments made by this title, to carry out the programs under laws as amended by this title, including—

(1)

the conservation reserve program under subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3831 et seq.) (as amended by subtitle B);

(2)

the environmental quality incentives program under subchapter A of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa et seq) (as added by section 2301(a)(1) and amended by subtitle C);

(3)

the conservation stewardship program under subchapter B of chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (as added by subsections (a)(2) and (b) of section 2301 and amended by subtitle C); and

(4)

the agricultural conservation easement program established under subtitle H of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865 et seq.) (as amended by subtitle F).

(b)

Regional conservation partnership program

Notwithstanding subsection (e) of section 1271E of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3871e) (as amended by section 2706), and subject to subsection (d), for fiscal year 2019, the Secretary may use an availability of program funding announcement consistent with the amendments made by subtitle G to carry out the regional conservation partnership program under subtitle I of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3871 et seq.) without issuing a regulation.

(c)

Funding

The Secretary may only use funds authorized to be made available by this title or the amendments made by this title for the specific programs described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of subsection (a) and subsection (b), in accordance with any restrictions on the use of those funds, for the purposes described in subsections (a) and (b).

(d)

Termination of authority

The authority of the Secretary to carry out subsections (a) and (b) shall terminate on September 30, 2019.

(e)

Permanent administration

Effective beginning on the termination date described in subsection (d), the Secretary shall carry out this title and the amendments made by this title in accordance with such final regulations as the Secretary considers necessary to carry out this title and the amendments made by this title.

F

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

2601.

Establishment and purposes

Section 1265(b) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (3), by inserting that negatively affect the agricultural uses and conservation values after that land; and

(2)

in paragraph (4), by striking restoring and and inserting restoring or.

2602.

Definitions

Section 1265A of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865a) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph(1)(B), by striking subject to an agricultural land easement plan, as approved by the Secretary;

(2)

by redesignating paragraphs (2), (3), (4), and (5) as paragraphs (3), (4), (6), and (7), respectively;

(3)

by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

(2)

Buy-protect-sell transaction

(A)

In general

The term buy-protect-sell transaction means a legal arrangement—

(i)

between an eligible entity and the Secretary relating to land that an eligible entity owns or is going to purchase prior to acquisition of an agricultural land easement;

(ii)

under which the eligible entity certifies to the Secretary that the eligible entity shall—

(I)
(aa)

hold an agricultural land easement on that land, but transfer ownership of the land to a farmer or rancher that is not an eligible entity prior to or on acquisition of the agricultural land easement; or

(bb)

hold an agricultural land easement on that land, but transfer ownership of the land to a farmer or rancher that is not an eligible entity in a timely manner and, subject to subparagraph (B), not later than 3 years after the date of acquisition of the agricultural land easement; and

(II)

make an initial sale of the land subject to the agricultural land easement to a farmer or rancher at not more than agricultural value, plus any reasonable holding and transaction costs incurred by the eligible entity, as determined by the Secretary; and

(iii)

under which the Secretary shall be reimbursed for the entirety of the Federal share of the cost of the agricultural land easement by the eligible entity if the eligible entity fails to transfer ownership under item (aa) or (bb), as applicable, of clause (ii)(I).

(B)

Time extension

Under subparagraph (A)(ii)(I)(bb), an eligible entity may transfer land later than 3 years after the date of acquisition of the agricultural land easement if the Secretary determines an extension of time is justified.

;

(4)

in paragraph (4) (as so redesignated)—

(A)

in subparagraph (A)(i)—

(i)

by striking to a and inserting the following:

to—

(I)

a

;

(ii)

in subclause (I) (as so designated), by adding or at the end; and

(iii)

by adding at the end the following:

(II)

a buy-protect-sell transaction;

; and

(B)

in subparagraph (B)(i)(II), by striking , as determined by the Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior at the local level; and

(5)

by inserting after paragraph (4) (as so redesignated) the following:

(5)

Monitoring report

The term monitoring report means a report, the contents of which are formulated and prepared by the holder of an agricultural land easement, that accurately documents whether the land subject to the agricultural land easement is in compliance with the terms and conditions of the agricultural land easement.

.

2603.

Agricultural land easements

(a)

Availability of assistance

Section 1265B(a) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865b(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking and at the end;

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking provide for the conservation of natural resources pursuant to an agricultural land easement plan. and inserting implement the program, including technical assistance for the development of a conservation plan under subsection (b)(4)(C)(iv); and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

buy-protect-sell transactions.

.

(b)

Cost-share assistance

(1)

Scope of assistance available

Section 1265B(b)(2) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865b(b)(2)) is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (B), by striking clause (ii) and inserting the following:

(ii)

Grasslands exception

In the case of grassland of special environmental significance, as determined by the Secretary, the Secretary may provide an amount not to exceed 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.

(iii)

Permissible forms

The non-Federal share provided by an eligible entity under this subparagraph may comprise—

(I)

cash resources;

(II)

a charitable donation or qualified conservation contribution (as defined in section 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) from the private landowner from which the agricultural land easement will be purchased;

(III)

costs associated with securing a deed to the agricultural land easement, including the cost of appraisal, survey, inspection, and title; and

(IV)

other costs, as determined by the Secretary.

; and

(B)

by striking subparagraph (C).

(2)

Evaluation and ranking of applications

Section 1265B(b)(3) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865b(b)(3)) is amended—

(A)

by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (E); and

(B)

by inserting after subparagraph (B) the following:

(C)

Accounting for geographic differences

The Secretary may adjust the criteria established under subparagraph (A) to account for geographic differences, if the adjustments—

(i)

meet the purposes of the program; and

(ii)

continue to maximize the benefit of the Federal investment under the program.

(D)

Priority

In evaluating applications under the program, the Secretary may give priority to an application for the purchase of an agricultural land easement that, as determined by the Secretary, maintains agricultural viability.

.

(3)

Agreements with eligible entities

Section 1265B(b)(4) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865b(b)(4)) is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (C), by striking clauses (iii) and (iv) and inserting the following:

(iii)

include a right of enforcement for the Secretary that—

(I)

may be used only if the terms and conditions of the easement are not enforced by the eligible entity; and

(II)

does not extend to a right of inspection unless—

(aa)
(AA)

the holder of the easement fails to provide monitoring reports in a timely manner; or

(BB)

the Secretary has a reasonable and articulable belief that the terms and conditions of the easement have been violated; and

(bb)

prior to the inspection, the Secretary notifies the eligible entity and the landowner of the inspection and provides a reasonable opportunity for the eligible entity and the landowner to participate in the inspection;

(iv)

include a conservation plan only for any portion of the land subject to the agricultural land easement that is highly erodible cropland; and

;

(B)

by redesignating subparagraphs (D) and (E) as subparagraphs (E) and (F), respectively; and

(C)

by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:

(D)

Additional permitted terms and conditions

An eligible entity may include terms and conditions for an agricultural land easement that—

(i)

are intended to keep the land subject to the agricultural land easement under the ownership of a farmer or rancher, as determined by the Secretary;

(ii)

allow subsurface mineral development on the land subject to the agricultural land easement and in accordance with applicable State law if, as determined by the Secretary—

(I)

the subsurface mineral development—

(aa)

has a limited and localized impact;

(bb)

does not harm the agricultural use and conservation values of the land subject to the easement;

(cc)

does not materially alter or affect the existing topography;

(dd)

shall comply with a subsurface mineral development plan that—

(AA)

includes a plan for the remediation of impacts to the agricultural use and conservation values of the land subject to the easement; and

(BB)

is approved by the Secretary prior to the initiation of mineral development activity;

(ee)

is not accomplished by any surface mining method;

(ff)

is within the impervious surface limits of the easement under subparagraph (C)(v); and

(gg)

uses practices and technologies that minimize the duration and intensity of impacts to the agricultural use and conservation values of the land subject to the easement; and

(II)

each area impacted by the subsurface mineral development shall be reclaimed and restored by the holder of the mineral rights at cessation of operation; and

(iii)

include other relevant activities relating to the agricultural land easement, as determined by the Secretary.

.

(4)

Certification of eligible entities

Section 1265B(b)(5) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865b(b)(5)) is amended—

(A)

in subparagraph (A)—

(i)

in clause (ii), by striking ; and and inserting a semicolon;

(ii)

in clause (iii), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(iii)

by adding at the end the following:

(iv)

allow a certified eligible entity to use its own terms and conditions, notwithstanding paragraph (4)(C), as long as the terms and conditions are consistent with the purposes of the program.

; and

(B)

in subparagraph (B)—

(i)

in clause (iii), by redesignating subclauses (I) through (III) as items (aa) through (cc), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(ii)

by redesignating clauses (i) through (iii) as subclauses (I) through (III), respectively, and indenting appropriately;

(iii)

in the matter preceding subclause (I) (as so redesignated), by striking entity will and inserting the following: “eligible entity—

(i)

will

;

(iv)

in clause (i)(III)(cc) (as so redesignated), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(v)

by adding at the end the following:

(ii)

has—

(I)

been accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, or by an equivalent accrediting body, as determined by the Secretary;

(II)

acquired not fewer than 10 agricultural land easements under the program or any predecessor program; and

(III)

successfully met the responsibilities of the eligible entity under the applicable agreements with the Secretary, as determined by the Secretary, relating to agricultural land easements that the eligible entity has acquired under the program or any predecessor program; or

(iii)

is a State department of agriculture or other State agency with statutory authority for farm and ranchland protection that has—

(I)

acquired not fewer than 10 agricultural land easements under the program or any predecessor program; and

(II)

successfully met the responsibilities of the eligible entity under the applicable agreements with the Secretary, as determined by the Secretary, relating to agricultural land easements that the eligible entity has acquired under the program or any predecessor program.

.

(5)

Technical assistance

Section 1265B of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865b) is amended by striking subsection (d) and inserting the following:

(d)

Technical assistance

The Secretary may provide technical assistance, if requested, to assist in compliance with the terms and conditions of easements.

.

2604.

Wetland reserve easements

Section 1265C of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865c) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

in paragraph (3)(C), by inserting or improving water quality before the period at the end; and

(B)

in paragraph (5)—

(i)

in subparagraph (C)—

(I)

by striking Land subject and inserting the following:

(i)

In general

Land subject

;

(II)

in clause (i) (as so designated), by inserting water management, after timber harvest,; and

(III)

by adding at the end the following:

(ii)

Compatible use authorization

In evaluating and authorizing a compatible economic use under clause (i), the Secretary shall—

(I)

request and consider the advice of the applicable State technical committee established under section 1261(a) about the 1 or more types of uses that may be authorized to be conducted on land subject to a wetland reserve easement, including the frequency, timing, and intensity of those uses;

(II)

consider the ability of an authorized use to facilitate the practical administration and management of that land; and

(III)

ensure that an authorized use furthers the functions and values for which the wetland reserve easement was established.

; and

(ii)

in subparagraph (D)(i)(III), by inserting after under subsection (f) the following: or a grazing management plan that is consistent with the wetland reserve easement plan and has been reviewed, and modified as necessary, at least every 5 years; and

(2)

in subsection (f)—

(A)

by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

(1)

Wetland reserve easement plan

(A)

In general

The Secretary shall develop a wetland reserve easement plan—

(i)

for any eligible land subject to a wetland reserve easement; and

(ii)

that restores, protects, enhances, manages, maintains, and monitors the eligible land subject to the wetland reserve easements acquired under this section.

(B)

Practices and activities

A wetland reserve easement plan under subparagraph (A) shall include practices and activities, including repair or replacement, that are necessary to restore and maintain the enrolled land and the functions and values of the wetland subject to a wetland reserve easement.

;

(B)

by redesignating paragraphs (2) and (3) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively; and

(C)

by inserting after paragraph (1) the following:

(2)

Alternative plant communities

The Secretary, in coordination with State technical committees established under section 1261(a) and pursuant to State-specific criteria and guidelines, may authorize the establishment or restoration of a hydrologically appropriate native community or alternative naturalized vegetative community as part of a wetland reserve easement plan on land subject to a wetland reserve easement if that hydrologically appropriate native or alternative naturalized vegetative community shall—

(A)

substantially support or benefit migratory waterfowl or other wetland wildlife; or

(B)

meet local resource concerns or needs (including as an element of a regional, State, or local wildlife initiative or plan).

.

2605.

Administration

Section 1265D of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3865d) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (a)(4), by striking proposed and inserting permitted;

(2)

by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following:

(c)

Subordination, exchange, modification, and termination

(1)

Subordination

The Secretary may subordinate any interest in land, or portion of such interest, administered by the Secretary (including for the purposes of utilities and energy transmission services) either directly or on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation under the program if the Secretary determines that the subordination—

(A)

increases conservation values or has a limited negative effect on conservation values;

(B)

minimally affects the acreage subject to the interest in land; and

(C)

is in the public interest or furthers the practical administration of the program.

(2)

Modification and exchange

(A)

Authority

The Secretary may approve a modification or exchange of any interest in land, or portion of such interest, administered by the Secretary, either directly or on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation under the program if the Secretary determines that—

(i)

no reasonable alternative exists and the effect on the interest in land is avoided or minimized to the extent practicable; and

(ii)

the modification or exchange—

(I)

results in equal or increased conservation values;

(II)

results in equal or greater economic value to the United States;

(III)

is consistent with the original intent of the easement;

(IV)

is consistent with the purposes of the program; and

(V)

is in the public interest or furthers the practical administration of the program.

(B)

Limitation

In modifying or exchanging an interest in land, or portion of such interest, under this paragraph, the Secretary may not increase any payment to an eligible entity.

(3)

Termination

The Secretary may approve a termination of any interest in land, or portion of such interest, administered by the Secretary, directly or on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation under the program if the Secretary determines that—

(A)

termination is in the interest of the Federal Government;

(B)

the United States will be fully compensated for—

(i)

the fair market value of the interest in land;

(ii)

any costs relating to the termination; and

(iii)

any damages determined appropriate by the Secretary; and

(C)

the termination will—

(i)

address a compelling public need for which there is no practicable alternative even with avoidance and minimization; and

(ii)

further the practical administration of the program.

(4)

Consent

The Secretary shall obtain consent from the landowner and eligible entity, if applicable, for any subordination, exchange, modification, or termination of interest in land, or portion of such interest, under this subsection.

(5)

Notice

At least 90 days before taking any termination action described in paragraph (3), the Secretary shall provide written notice of such action to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate.

; and

(3)

in subsection (d)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by striking transferred into the program and inserting enrolled in an easement under section 1265C(b); and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Agricultural land easements

A farmer or rancher who owns eligible land subject to an agricultural land easement may enter into a contract under subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D.

.

G

Regional Conservation Partnership Program

2701.

Establishment and purposes

Section 1271 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3871) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by inserting , including partnership agreements funded through alternative funding arrangements or grant agreements under section 1271C(d), after partnership agreements; and

(B)

in paragraph (2), by striking contracts with producers and inserting program contracts with producers; and

(2)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking use covered programs and inserting carry out eligible activities;

(B)

by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

(2)

To further the conservation, protection, restoration, and sustainable use of soil, water (including sources of drinking water and groundwater), wildlife, agricultural land, and related natural resources on eligible land on a regional or watershed scale.

;

(C)

in paragraph (3)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A), by inserting , including through alignment of partnership projects with other national, State, and local agencies and programs addressing similar natural resource or environmental concerns after eligible land; and

(ii)

in subparagraph (B), by striking installation and inserting adoption, installation,; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(4)

To encourage the flexible and streamlined delivery of conservation assistance to producers through partnership agreements.

(5)

To engage producers and eligible partners in conservation projects to achieve greater conservation outcomes and benefits for producers than would otherwise be achieved.

.

2702.

Definitions

Section 1271A of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3871a) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

in subparagraph (C), by inserting , not including the grassland conservation initiative under section 1240L–1 before the period at the end; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(E)

The conservation reserve program established under subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D.

(F)

The programs established by the Secretary to carry out the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (16 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.), except for any program established by the Secretary to carry out section 14 (16 U.S.C. 1012) of that Act.

;

(2)

by striking paragraphs (2) and (3) and inserting the following:

(2)

Eligible activity

The term eligible activity means a practice, activity, agreement, easement, or related conservation measure that is available under the statutory authority for a covered program.

(3)

Eligible land

The term eligible land means any agricultural or nonindustrial private forest land or associated land on which the Secretary determines an eligible activity would help achieve conservation benefits.

;

(3)

in paragraph (4)—

(A)

in subparagraph (E), by inserting acequia, after irrigation district,; and

(B)

by adding at the end the following:

(I)

An organization described in section 1265A(3)(B).

(J)

A conservation district.

;

(4)

by striking paragraph (5) and inserting the following:

(5)

Partnership agreement

The term partnership agreement means the programmatic agreement entered into between the Secretary and an eligible partner, subject to the terms and conditions under section 1271B.

; and

(5)

by adding at the end the following:

(7)

Program contract

(A)

In general

The term program contract means the contract between the Secretary and a producer entered into under this subtitle.

(B)

Exclusion

The term program contract does not include a contract under a covered program.

.

2703.

Regional conservation partnerships

Section 1271B of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3871b) is amended—

(1)

by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:

(b)

Length

(1)

In general

A partnership agreement shall be—

(A)

for a period not to exceed 5 years; or

(B)

for a period that is longer than 5 years, if the longer period is necessary to meet the objectives of the program, as determined by the Secretary.

(2)

Renewal

A partnership agreement may be renewed under subsection (e)(5) for a period not to exceed 5 years.

(3)

Extension

A partnership agreement, or any renewal of a partnership agreement, may each be extended 1 time for a period not longer than 12 months, as determined by the Secretary.

;

(2)

in subsection (c)—

(A)

in paragraph (1)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A)—

(I)

by redesignating clauses (iii) and (iv) as clauses (iv) and (v), respectively; and

(II)

by striking clauses (i) and (ii) and inserting the following:

(i)

1 or more conservation benefits that the project shall achieve;

(ii)

the eligible activities on eligible land to be conducted under the project to achieve conservation benefits;

(iii)

the implementation timeline for carrying out the project, including any interim milestones;

;

(ii)

in subparagraph (D), by striking funds and inserting contributions; and

(iii)

in subparagraph (E), by striking of the project’s effects; and and inserting the following: “of—

(i)

the progress made by the project in achieving each conservation benefit defined in the partnership agreement, including in a quantified form to the extent practicable; and

(ii)

as appropriate, other outcomes of the project; and

; and

(B)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

by striking An eligible and inserting the following:

(A)

In general

An eligible

; and

(ii)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

Form

A contribution of an eligible partner under this paragraph may be in the form of—

(i)

direct funding;

(ii)

in-kind support; or

(iii)

a combination of direct funding and in-kind support.

(C)

Treatment

Any amounts expended during the period beginning on the date on which the Secretary announces the approval of an application under subsection (e) and ending on the day before the effective date of the partnership agreement by an eligible partner for staff salaries or development of the partnership agreement may be considered to be a part of the contribution of the eligible partner under this paragraph.

;

(3)

by redesignating subsection (d) as subsection (e);

(4)

by inserting after subsection (c) the following:

(d)

Duties of Secretary

The Secretary shall—

(1)

establish a timeline for carrying out the duties of the Secretary under a partnership agreement, including—

(A)

entering into program contracts with producers;

(B)

providing financial assistance to producers; and

(C)

in the case of a partnership agreement that is funded through an alternative funding arrangement or grant agreement under section 1271C(d), providing the payments to the eligible partner for carrying out eligible activities;

(2)

identify in each State a program coordinator for the State, who shall be responsible for providing assistance to eligible partners under the program;

(3)

establish guidance to assist eligible partners with carrying out the assessment required under subsection (c)(1)(E);

(4)

provide to each eligible partner that has entered into a partnership agreement that is not funded through an alternative funding arrangement or grant agreement under section 1271C(d)—

(A)

a semiannual report describing the status of each pending and obligated contract under the project of the eligible partner; and

(B)

an annual report describing how the Secretary used amounts reserved by the Secretary for that year for technical assistance under section 1271D(f); and

(5)

ensure that any eligible activity effectively achieves the conservation benefits identified in the partnership agreement under subsection (c)(1)(A)(i).

;

(5)

in subsection (e) (as redesignated by paragraph (3))—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by inserting simplified after conduct a;

(B)

in paragraph (3)—

(i)

by striking the paragraph designation and heading and all that follows through description of— and inserting the following:

(3)

Contents

The Secretary shall develop a simplified application that includes a description of—

;

(ii)

in subparagraph (C), by striking , including the covered programs to be used; and

(iii)

in subparagraph (D), by striking financial;

(C)

in paragraph (4)—

(i)

by striking subparagraph (D);

(ii)

by redesignating subparagraphs (E) and (F) as subparagraphs (G) and (H), respectively; and

(iii)

by inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:

(D)

build new partnerships with local, State, and private entities to include a diversity of stakeholders in the project;

(E)

deliver a high percentage of applied conservation—

(i)

to achieve conservation benefits; or

(ii)

in the case of a project in a critical conservation area under section 1271F, to address the priority resource concern for that critical conservation area;

(F)

implement the project consistent with existing watershed, habitat, or other area restoration plans;

; and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Renewals

If the Secretary determines that a project that is the subject of a partnership agreement has met or exceeded the objectives of the project, the Secretary may renew the partnership agreement through an expedited noncompetitive process if the 1 or more eligible partners that are parties to the partnership agreement request the renewal in order—

(A)

to continue to implement the project under a renewal of the partnership agreement; or

(B)

to expand the scope of the project under a renewal of the partnership agreement, as long as the expansion is within the objectives and purposes of the original partnership agreement.

; and

(6)

by adding at the end the following:

(f)

Nonapplicability of adjusted gross income limitation

The adjusted gross income limitation described in section 1001D(b)(1) shall not apply to an eligible partner under the program.

.

2704.

Assistance to producers

Section 1271C of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3871c) is amended—

(1)

by striking subsections (a) and (b) and inserting the following:

(a)

In general

A producer may receive financial or technical assistance to conduct eligible activities on eligible land through a program contract entered into with the Secretary.

(b)

Program contracts

(1)

In general

The Secretary shall establish a program contract to be entered into with a producer to conduct eligible activities on eligible land, subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary may establish.

(2)

Application bundles

(A)

In general

An eligible partner may submit to the Secretary, on behalf of producers, a bundle of applications for assistance under the program through program contracts to address a sub