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H.R. 4892 (115th): Collaborative Water and Soil Enhancement Act of 2018

The text of the bill below is as of Jan 29, 2018 (Introduced).


I

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4892

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 29, 2018

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

A BILL

To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 with respect to nutrient and soil health management and source water protection, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Collaborative Water and Soil Enhancement Act of 2018.

2.

Nutrient and soil health management

(a)

In general

Section 1244 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(m)

Nutrient and soil health management

In carrying out the conservation stewardship program and the environmental quality incentives program, the Secretary shall enroll not less than 5 million acres annually, in watersheds where nutrient delivery to hypoxic zones is highest, to provide payments to producers for conservation activities or practices that promote nutrient and soil health management, as determined by the Secretary.

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(b)

Technical assistance

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)

Certified crop advisors

The Secretary shall provide a streamlined certification process under this subsection for third-party providers that have a 4R Nutrient Management Specialty Certification or a Sustainability Specialty Certification from the American Society of Agronomy.

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3.

Source water protection through targeting of agriculture practices

Section 1244 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3844), as amended by section 2, is further amended by adding at the end the following:

(n)

Source water protection

(1)

In general

In carrying out the conservation stewardship program and the environmental quality incentives program, the Secretary shall encourage practices that relate to water quality or water quantity that protect source waters for drinking water (including protecting against public health threats) while also benefitting agricultural producers.

(2)

Collaboration with drinking water utilities and increased incentives

In encouraging practices under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall—

(A)

work collaboratively with community water systems and State technical committees established under section 1261 to identify, in each State, local priority areas for the protection of source waters for drinking water; and

(B)

for practices that relate to water quality or water quantity that result in benefits that primarily occur outside of the land on which the practices are implemented, offer increased incentives and higher cost-share rates to producers than are otherwise statutorily authorized through the conservation stewardship program and the environmental quality incentives program.

(3)

Reservation of funds and acres

In each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, the Secretary shall use not less than 10 percent of any funds or acres available with respect to the conservation stewardship program and the environmental quality incentives program, in carrying out this subsection, to target the most effective practices for improving the quality or quantity of source water.

(4)

Priority

In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary shall give priority—

(A)

to practices determined by the Secretary, using the Conservation Practices Physical Effects matrix developed by the Secretary, to be the most effective; and

(B)

to practices implemented in local priority areas identified under paragraph (2)(A).

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