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S. 2139 (115th): Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Nov 16, 2017.

Chesapeake Bay Farm Bill Enhancements Act of 2017

This bill amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to modify and increase funding for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

(The RCPP operates through several USDA conservation programs to provide funding for partners to join in efforts with producers to increase the restoration and sustainable use of soil, water, wildlife, and related natural resources on regional or watershed scales. The RCPP includes the purposes and functions of several conservation programs such as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Initiative.)

The bill modifies the RCPP to:

increase mandatory funding and revise the requirements for distributing funds, allow in-kind support to count toward a partner's matching contribution, allow partners to apply for a funding renewal of a partnership agreement, authorize USDA to provide information and feedback to applicants throughout the application process, authorize grants for partners to directly operate conservation projects, authorize USDA to advance funding to partners for technical assistance for project development and outreach activities, require USDA to make publicly available the amounts available for technical assistance under a partnership agreement, limit USDA costs for technical assistance to costs specific and necessary to carry out the objectives of the partnership agreement, modify the criteria for a critical conservation area, and revise the requirements for prioritizing applications.