Text: S.4850 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (10/23/2020)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
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[S. 4850 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

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116th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 4850

  To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to create permanent payments 
  within the environmental quality incentives program for soil health 
 practices and carbon sequestration monitoring, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

             October 23 (legislative day, October 19), 2020

   Mr. Wyden introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 
   referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
  To amend the Food Security Act of 1985 to create permanent payments 
  within the environmental quality incentives program for soil health 
 practices and carbon sequestration monitoring, and for other purposes.

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

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Healthy Soils Healthy Climate Act of 
2020''.

SEC. 2. AMENDMENTS TO THE FOOD SECURITY ACT OF 1985.

    (a) Increased Payments for High-Priority Practices.--Section 
1240B(d)(7)(A) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa-
2(d)(7)(A)) is amended--
            (1) in clause (iii), by striking ``or'' at the end;
            (2) in clause (iv), by striking the period at the end and 
        inserting ``; or''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
                            ``(v) increases soil organic carbon 
                        levels.''.
    (b) Incentive Payments for Soil Health Practices and Carbon 
Sequestration Monitoring.--
            (1) In general.--Section 1240B of the Food Security Act of 
        1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa-2) is amended by adding at the end the 
        following:
    ``(k) Incentive Payments for Soil Health Practices and Carbon 
Sequestration Monitoring.--
            ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall provide incentive 
        payments to producers to adopt practices designed to improve 
        soil health through increasing carbon levels in soil (referred 
        to in this section as `soil organic carbon levels').
            ``(2) Requirements.--In providing the incentive payments 
        under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall--
                    ``(A) establish payments to provide an incentive 
                for the use of practices across a variety of geographic 
                regions that--
                            ``(i) improve soil health;
                            ``(ii) sequester carbon in the soil; or
                            ``(iii) meet the goals described in clauses 
                        (i) and (ii); and
                    ``(B) establish protocols for measuring soil 
                organic carbon levels before and after treatment under 
                this subsection to measure gains in soil health as a 
                result of the practices.
            ``(3) Study; report to congress.--
                    ``(A) Study.--Not later than 2 years after the date 
                of enactment of this subsection, and every 2 years 
                thereafter, the Secretary shall conduct a study 
                regarding changes in soil health and soil organic 
                carbon levels as a result of the practices used under 
                this subsection.
                    ``(B) Report to congress.--Not later than 2 years 
                after the date of enactment of this subsection, and 
                every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to 
                Congress a report describing and analyzing the results 
                of the study conducted under subparagraph (A).
                    ``(C) Inclusion.--The report under subparagraph (B) 
                shall include an analysis of--
                            ``(i) the effect of various practices on 
                        soil organic carbon levels;
                            ``(ii) the extent to which the lessons 
                        learned in carrying out this subsection can be 
                        transferred to other geographic regions;
                            ``(iii) further data required to 
                        substantiate the connection between soil 
                        organic carbon levels and crop yield and 
                        resiliency, if applicable;
                            ``(iv) the effect of multiple practices on 
                        soil organic carbon levels; and
                            ``(v) potential barriers to data collection 
                        across a variety of geographic regions.''.
            (2) Funding.--Section 1240B(f) of the Food Security Act of 
        1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa-2(f)) is amended by adding at the end 
        the following:
            ``(3) Incentive payments for soil health practices and 
        carbon sequestration monitoring.--For each fiscal year for 
        which funds are made available under section 1241(a)(3)(A), of 
        the funds made available for payments under the program, 
        $100,000,000 shall be used to provide incentive payments under 
        subsection (k).''.
            (3) Conforming amendments.--Section 1240H of the Food 
        Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa-8) is amended--
                    (A) in subsection (c), by striking paragraph (7); 
                and
                    (B) in subsection (d)(1)--
                            (i) in subparagraph (B), by adding ``and'' 
                        at the end;
                            (ii) in subparagraph (C), by striking ``; 
                        and'' and inserting a period; and
                            (iii) by striking subparagraph (D).
    (c) Priority for Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration.--Section 
1240B of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa-2) (as amended 
by subsection (b)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(l) Priority for Soil Health and Carbon Sequestration.--
            ``(1) In general.--To the maximum extent feasible, the 
        Secretary shall manage the program to promote practices at 
        least 1 of the benefits of which is enhancement of soil health 
        or increasing soil organic carbon levels.
            ``(2) Soil health and carbon sequestration on eligible 
        land.--The Secretary shall--
                    ``(A) develop ranking and scoring criteria under 
                the program that prioritize practices that score 
                highest in soil carbon sequestration on eligible land; 
                and
                    ``(B) develop a soil organic carbon conservation 
                activity plan under the program to measure and monitor 
                sequestration and mitigation improvement levels from 
                the practices described in subparagraph (A), such as 
                cover crops, crop rotation, and improved soil 
                management.''.
    (d) Streamlining and Coordination.--Section 1240B of the Food 
Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3839aa-2) (as amended by subsection 
(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following:
    ``(m) Streamlining and Coordination.--To the maximum extent 
feasible, the Secretary shall provide for streamlined and coordinated 
procedures for the program and the conservation stewardship program 
under subchapter B, including applications, contracting, conservation 
planning, conservation practices, and related administrative 
procedures.''.
    (e) Soil Health and Carbon Science Research Program at Agriculture 
Research Stations.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish a 
program--
            (1) to provide grants to land-grant colleges and 
        universities to conduct research relating to soil health and 
        carbon science; and
            (2) to conduct research relating to soil health and carbon 
        science at agriculture research stations of the Department of 
        Agriculture.
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