Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (05/08/1984)

(Measure passed House, amended, in lieu of H.R. 3457)

Soil Conservation Act of 1984 - Title I - Defines specified terms for purposes of this Act.

Title II - Declares that any person who produces an agricultural commodity on highly erodible land (on a field on which such highly erodible land is the predominant class) shall be ineligible with respect to such commodity for: (1) price or income support assistance; (2) a loan for the construction or purchase of a storage facility; (3) crop insurance; (4) a disaster payment; or (5) any new loan if used for a purpose which will contribute to excessive erosion of highly erodible land. Exempts from such restrictions lands and crops cultivated: (1) before enactment of this Act; (2) between 1973 and 1984; (3) under an approved conservation system; or (4) in reliance on a Soil Conservation Service determination that the affected land was not highly erodible.

Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to complete as soon as possible specified land capability soil surveys.

Title III - Requires the Secretary to submit to the appropriate congressional committees by February 15, 1985, a study of various voluntary set-aside programs. Requires such study to include: (1) an analysis of the impact of such programs on water quality; and (2) an analysis of a program under which cropland set aside for approved grasses and legumes may qualify for future stabilization program acreage base inclusion or for conserving-use acreage.

Requires the Secretary to conduct an economic study of the costs and benefits of all current soil conservation programs including research and extension efforts. Directs the Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service to lead such study. Requires a report within nine months to the appropriate congressional committees.

Title IV - Requires the Secretary to provide for a land and water conservation reserve program for erosion-prone land through long-term (seven to 15 years) contracts to replace crops with grasses, hay, or trees.

Limits sign-up contracts to a three-year period beginning October 1, 1984.

Requires a contract to set forth the intended conservation measures and any intended commercial use of such land. Authorizes the contract to provide for the permanent retirement of such land's cropland base and allotment history. Sets forth other required contract provisions.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) provide technical assistance; (2) share the cost of carrying out appropriate conservation measures; and (3) pay an annual land rental fee for the contract's duration.

Directs the Secretary to determine land rental amounts on the basis of bids, with priority given to those bids that result in the lowest Government cost. Includes among such bid factors: (1) tons of diverted soil; (2) annual acres of diverted erosion-prone cropland; (3) amounts of diverted commodities; (4) cost-sharing amounts; and (5) permanently retired cropland base and allotment history.

Sets maximum payment levels at: (1) $50,000,000 for FY 1985; (2) $75,000,000 for 1986; and (3) $100,000,000 for FY 1987. Restricts payments to amounts as provided in appropriation Acts.

Requires the Secretary to: (1) protect the interests of tenants and sharecroppers; (2) terminate contracts by mutual agreement when in the public interest; and (3) preserve the cropland base and allotment history of diverted land for other Federal program purposes.

Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) modify contracts; and (2) use Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) services, facilities, or funds (if there has been a prior appropriation).

Authorizes FY 1985 through 1987 appropriations, including amounts as necessary to repay CCC costs.

Title V - Requires the Secretary to: (1) publish implementing regulations in the Federal Register within 180 days; (2) use the services of State, county, and local agricultural committees; and (3) establish an appeals procedure for persons adversely affected by any determination made under this Act.

States that the authority provided under this Act shall be in addition to and not in place of other soil and water conservation authority available to the Secretary and CCC.