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S. 499: SHIPP 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 Mar 2, 2017.

Soil Health and Income Protection Program Act of 2017 or the SHIPP Act of 2017

This bill amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to establish a voluntary soil health and income protection program.

Landowners and operators may enroll eligible land in the program by agreeing to adopt certain practices to conserve and improve the soil, water, and wildlife resources of the land for a period of three to five years in exchange for rental payments and additional crop insurance premium discounts.

During the period of the agreement:

the lowest practicable cost perennial conserving use cover crop must be planted on the enrolled land at the expense of the enrollee; the land may be harvested for seed, hayed, or grazed outside the nesting and brood-rearing period, but may not be insured and is subject to a 25% reduction in rental payments if the land is harvested for seed; the land may be eligible for a walk-in access program of the applicable state; and 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. Beginning, small, socially disadvantaged, young, or veteran farmers and ranchers are only required to pay 50% of the cost of planting the conserving using cover crop and are eligible for increased payments and crop insurance premium discounts under the program.

A maximum of 15% of the eligible land on a farm may be enrolled in the program.