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ticable, establish a process for selecting applications for financial assistance if there are numerous applications for assistance for structural practices that would provide substantially the same level of environmental benefits. The process shall be based on—

"(A) a reasonable estimate of the projected cost of the proposals and other factors identified by the Secretary for determining which applications will result in the least cost to the program authorized by this chapter; and

"(B) the priorities established under this subtitle and such other factors determined by the Secretary that maximize environmental benefits per dollar expended.

"(2) CONCURRENCE OF OWNER.-If the producer making an offer to implement a structural practice is a tenant of the land involved in agricultural production, for the offer to be acceptable, the producer shall obtain the concurrence of the owner of the land with respect to the offer.

"(d) LAND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES.-The Secretary shall establish an application and evaluation process for awarding technical assistance or incentive payments, or both, to a producer in exchange for the performance of 1 or more land management practices by the producer.

"(e) COST-SHARE PAYMENTS, INCENTIVE PAYMENTS, AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE."(1) COST-SHARE PAYMENTS.

"(A) IN GENERAL.-The Federal share of cost-share payments to a producer proposing to implement 1 or more structural practices shall be not more than 75 percent of the projected cost of the practice, as determined by the Secretary, taking into consideration any payment received by the producer from a State or local government.

"(B) LIMITATION.-A producer who owns or operates a large confined livestock operation (as defined by the Secretary) shall not be eligible for cost-share payments to construct an animal waste management facility.

"(C) OTHER PAYMENTS.-A producer shall not be eligible for cost-share payments for structural practices on eligible land under this chapter if the producer receives costshare payments or other benefits for the same land under chapter 1 or 3.

"(2) INCENTIVE PAYMENTS.-The Secretary shall make incentive payments in an amount and at a rate determined by the Secretary to be necessary to encourage a producer to perform 1 or more land management practices. "(3) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.—

"(A) FUNDING.-The Secretary shall allocate funding under this chapter for the provision of technical assistance according to the purpose and projected cost for which the technical assistance is provided for a fiscal year. The allocated amount may vary according to the type of expertise required, quantity of time involved, and other factors. as determined appropriate by the Secretary. Funding shall not exceed the projected cost to the Secretary of the technical assistance provided for a fiscal year.

"(B) OTHER AUTHORITIES.-The receipt of technical assistance under this chapter shall not affect the eligibility of the producer to receive technical assistance under other authorities of law available to the Secretary.

"(C) PRIVATE SOURCES.-The Secretary shall ensure that the processes of writing and developing proposals and plans for contracts under this chapter, and of assisting in the implementation of structural practices and land management practices covered by the contracts, are open to individuals in agribusiness, including agricultural producers, representatives from agricultural cooperatives, agricultural input retail dealers, and certified crop advisers. The requirements of this subparagraph shall also apply to any other conservation program of the Department of Agriculture that provides incentive

payments, technical assistance, or cost-share payments.

"(f) MODIFICATION OR TERMINATION OF CONTRACTS.

"(1) VOLUNTARY MODIFICATION OR TERMINATION. The Secretary may modify or terminate a contract entered into with a producer under this chapter if

"(A) the producer agrees to the modification or termination; and

"(B) the Secretary determines that the modification or termination is in the public interest.

"(2) INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION.-The Secretary may terminate a contract under this chapter if the Secretary determines that the producer violated the contract.

"(g) NON-FEDERAL ASSISTANCE.-The Secretary may request the services of a State water quality agency, State fish and wildlife agency, State forestry agency, or any other governmental or private resource considered appropriate to assist in providing the technical assistance necessary for the development and implementation of a structural practice or land management practice. "SEC. 1240C. EVALUATION OF OFFERS AND PAY

MENTS.

"In providing technical assistance, costshare payments, and incentive payments to producers, the Secretary shall accord a higher priority to assistance and payments that

"(1) are provided in conservation priority areas established under section 1230(c);

"(2) maximize environmental benefits per dollar expended; or

“(3) are provided in watersheds, regions, or conservation priority areas in which State or local governments have provided, or will provide, financial or technical assistance to producers for the same conservation or environmental purposes.

"SEC. 1240D. DUTIES OF PRODUCERS.

"To receive technical assistance, costshare payments, or incentive payments under this chapter, a producer shall agree

"(1) to implement an environmental quality incentives program plan that describes conservation and environmental goals to be achieved through a structural practice or land management practice, or both, that is approved by the Secretary;

"(2) not to conduct any practices on the farm or ranch that would tend to defeat the purposes of this chapter;

“(3) on the violation of a term or condition of the contract at any time the producer has control of the land, to refund any cost-share or incentive payment received with interest, and forfeit any future payments under this chapter, as determined by the Secretary;

"(4) on the transfer of the right and interest of the producer in land subject to the contract, unless the transferee of the right and interest agrees with the Secretary to assume all obligations of the contract, to refund all cost-share payments and incentive payments received under this chapter, as determined by the Secretary;

"(5) to supply information as required by the Secretary to determine compliance with the environmental quality incentives program plan and requirements of the program; and

"(6) to comply with such additional provisions as the Secretary determines are necessary to carry out the environmental quality incentives program plan.

"SEC. 1240E. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM PLAN.

"(a) IN GENERAL.—To be eligible to enter into a contract under the environmental quality incentives program, an owner or producer of a livestock or agricultural operation must submit to the Secretary for approval a plan of operations that incorporates such conservation practices, and is based on

such principles, as the Secretary considers necessary to carry out the program, including a description of structural practices and land management practices to be implemented and the objectives to be met by the plan's implementation.

"(b) AVOIDANCE OF DUPLICATION.-The Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, eliminate duplication of planning activities under the environmental quality incentives program and comparable conservation programs.

"SEC. 1240F. DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY.

"To the extent appropriate, the Secretary shall assist a producer in achieving the conservation and environmental goals of an environmental quality incentives program plan by

"(1) providing an eligibility assessment of the farming or ranching operation of the producer as a basis for developing the plan;

"(2) providing technical assistance in developing and implementing the plan;

"(3) providing technical assistance, costshare payments, or incentive payments for developing and implementing 1 or more structural practices or 1 or more land management practices, as appropriate;

"(4) providing the producer with information, education, and training to aid in implementation of the plan; and

"(5) encouraging the producer to obtain technical assistance, cost-share payments, or grants from other Federal, State, local, or private sources.

"SEC. 1240G. LIMITATION ON PAYMENTS.

"(a) IN GENERAL.-The total amount of cost-share and incentive payments paid to a this chapter producer under chapter may exceed

not

"(1) $10,000 for any fiscal year; or "(2) $50,000 for any multiyear contract. "(b) EXCEPTION TO ANNUAL LIMIT.-The Secretary may exceed the limitation on the annual amount of a payment under subsection (a)(1) on a case-by-case basis if the Secretary determines that a larger payment is

"(1) essential to accomplish the land management practice or structural practice for which the payment is made; and

"(2) consistent with the maximization of environmental benefits per dollar expended and the purposes of this chapter specified in section 1240.

"(c) TIMING OF EXPENDITURES.-Expenditures under a contract entered into under this chapter during a fiscal year may not be made by the Secretary until the subsequent fiscal year.

"SEC. 1240H. TEMPORARY ADMINISTRATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM.

"(a) INTERIM ADMINISTRATION.— "(1) IN GENERAL.-During the period beginning on the date of enactment of this section and ending on the termination date provided under paragraph (2), to ensure that technical assistance, cost-share payments, and incentive payments continue to be administered in an orderly manner until such time as assistance can be provided through final regulations issued to implement the environmental quality incentives program established under this chapter, the Secretary shall continue to

"(A) provide technical assistance, costshare payments, and incentive payments under the terms and conditions of the agricultural conservation program, the Great Plains conservation program, the water quality incentives program, and the Colorado River Basin salinity control program, to the extent the terms and conditions of the program are consistent with the environmental quality incentives program; and "(B) use for those purposes"(i) any funds remaining available for the agricultural conservation program, the

Great Plains conservation program, the water quality incentives program, and the Colorado River Basin salinity control program; and

"(ii) as the Secretary determines to be necessary, any funds authorized to be used to carry out the environmental quality incentives program.

"(2) TERMINATION OF AUTHORITY.-The authority of the Secretary to carry out paragraph (1) shall terminate on the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this section.

"(b) PERMANENT ADMINISTRATION.-Effective beginning on the termination date provided under subsection (a)(2), the Secretary shall provide technical assistance, cost-share payments, and incentive payments for structural practices and land management practices related to crop and livestock production in accordance with final regulations issued to carry out the environmental quality incentives program.".

SEC. 335. CONSERVATION FARM OPTION.

Subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3830 et seq.) (as amended by section 334) is amended by adding at the end the following:

"CHAPTER 5-CONSERVATION FARM
OPTION

"SEC. 1240M. CONSERVATION FARM OPTION.

"(a) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary shall establish conservation farm option pilot programs for producers of wheat, feed grains, cotton, and rice.

"(b) ELIGIBLE OWNERS AND PRODUCERS.-An owner or producer with a farm that has contract acreage enrolled in the agricultural market transition program established under the Agricultural Market Transition Act shall be eligible to participate in the conservation farm option offered under a pilot program under subsection (a) if the owner or producer meets the conditions established under section (e).

"(c) PURPOSES.-The purposes of the conservation farm option pilot programs shall include

"(1) conservation of soil, water, and related resources;

"(2) water quality protection or improvement;

"(3) wetland restoration, protection, and creation;

"(4) wildlife habitat development and protection; or

"(5) other similar conservation purposes. "(d) CONSERVATION FARM PLAN.—

"(1) IN GENERAL. To be eligible to enter into a conservation farm option contract, an owner or producer must prepare and submit to the Secretary, for approval, a conservation farm plan that shall become a part of the conservation farm option contract.

"(2) REQUIREMENTS.-A conservation farm plan shall

"(A) describe the resource-conserving crop rotations, and all other conservation practices, to be implemented and maintained on the acreage that is subject to contract during the contract period;

"(B) contain a schedule for the implementation and maintenance of the practices described in the conservation farm plan;

"(C) comply with highly erodible land and wetland conservation requirements of this title: and

"(D) contain such other terms as the Secretary may require.

"(e) CONTRACTS.—

"(1) IN GENERAL.-On approval of a conservation farm plan, the Secretary may enter into a contract with the owner or producer that specifies the acres being enrolled and the practices being adopted.

"(2) DURATION OF CONTRACT.-The contract shall be for a period of 10 years. The contract may be renewed for a period of not to exceed

5 years on mutual agreement of the Secretary and the owner or producer.

"(3) CONSIDERATION.-In exchange for payments under this subsection, the owner or producer shall not participate in and shall forgo payments under

"(A) the conservation reserve program established under subchapter B of chapter 1;

"(B) the wetlands reserve program established under subchapter C of chapter 1; and "(C) the environmental quality incentives program established under chapter 4.

"(4) OWNER OR PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE AGREEMENT.-Under the terms of the contract entered into under this section, an owner or producer shall agree to

"(A) actively comply with the terms and conditions of the approved conservation farm plan;

"(B) keep such records as the Secretary may reasonably require for purposes of evaluation of the implementation of the conservation farm plan; and

"(C) not engage in any activity that would defeat the purposes of the conservation farm option pilot program.

"(5) PAYMENTS.-The Secretary shall offer an owner or producer annual payments under the contract that are equivalent to the payments the owner or producer would have received under the conservation reserve program, the wetlands reserve program, and the environmental quality incentives program.

"(6) BALANCE OF BENEFITS.-The Secretary shall not permit an owner or producer to terminate a conservation reserve program contract and enter a conservation farm option contract if the Secretary determines that such action will reduce net environmental benefits.

"(f) SECRETARIAL DETERMINATIONS.

"(1) ACREAGE ESTIMATES.-Prior to each year during which the Secretary intends to offer conservation reserve program tracts, the Secretary shall estimate the number of acres that

con

"(A) will be retired under the conservation farm option under the terms and conditions the Secretary intends to offer for that program; and

"(B) would be retired under the conservation reserve program if the conservation farm option were not available.

"(2) TOTAL LAND RETIREMENT.-The Secretary shall announce a number of acres to be enrolled in the conservation reserve program that will result in a total number of acres retired under the conservation reserve program and the conservation farm option that does not exceed the amount estimated under paragraph (1)(B) for the current or future years.

"(3) LIMITATION.-The Secretary shall not enroll additional conservation reserve program contracts to offset the land retired under the conservation farm option.

"(g) COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION.-The Secretary shall use the funds, authorities, and facilities of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out this subsection.

"(h) FUNDING. Of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Corporation shall make available to carry out this section

"(1) $7,500,000 for fiscal year 1997;
"(2) $15,000,000 for fiscal year 1998;
"(3) $25,000,000 for fiscal year 1999;
"(4) $37,500,000 for fiscal year 2000;
"(5) $50,000,000 for fiscal year 2001; and
"(6) $62,500,000 for fiscal year 2002.".

SEC. 336. REPEAL OF SUPERSEDED AUTHORI-
TIES.
AGRICULTURAL

(a) GRAM.

(1) ELIMINATION.

CONSERVATION

PRO

(A) Section 8 of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590h) is amended

(i) in subsection (b)

(I) by striking paragraphs (1) through (4) and inserting the following:

"(1) ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM. The Secretary shall provide technical assistance, cost-share payments, and incentive payments to operators through the environmental quality incentives program in accordance with chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985."; and

(II) by striking paragraphs (6) through (8); and

(ii) by striking subsections (d), (e), and (f). (B) The first sentence of section 11 of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590k) is amended by striking "performance: Provided further," and all that follows through "or other law" and inserting "performance".

(C) Section 14 of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590n) is amended

(i) in the first sentence, by striking "or 8"; and

(ii) by striking the second sentence. (D) Section 15 of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 5900) is amended

(i) in the first undesignated paragraph(I) in the first sentence, by striking "sections 7 and 8" and inserting "section 7"; and (II) by striking the third sentence; and (ii) by striking the second undesignated paragraph.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

(A) Paragraph (1) of the last proviso of the matter under the heading "CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM" under the heading "SOIL BANK PROGRAMS" of title I of the Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit Administration Appropriation Act, 1959 (72 Stat. 195; 7 U.S.C. 1831a), is amended by striking "Agricultural Conservation Program" and inserting "environmental quality incentives program established under chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985".

(B) Section 4 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2103) is amended by striking "as added by the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973" each place it appears in subsections (d) and (i) and inserting "as in effect before the amendment made by section 336(d)(1) of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996".

(C) Section 226(b)(4) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6932(b)(4)) is amended by striking "and the agricultural conservation program under the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590g et seq.)".

(D) Section 246(b)(8) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7) U.S.C. 6962(b)(8)) is amended by striking "and the agricultural conservation program under the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590g et seq.)”.

(E) Section 1271(c)(3)(C) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (16 U.S.C. 2106a(c)(3)(C)) is amended by striking "Agricultural Conservation Program established under section 16(b) of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590h, 5901, or 590p)" and inserting "environmental quality incentives program established under chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985".

(F) Section 304(a) of the Lake Champlain Special Designation Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-596; 33 U.S.C. 1270 note) is amended

(i) in the subsection heading, by striking "SPECIAL PROJECT AREA UNDER THE AGRICULTURAL CONSERVATION PROGRAM" and inserting "PRIORITY AREA UNDER THE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM"; and (ii) in paragraph (1), by striking "special project area under the Agricultural Con

[blocks in formation]

(1) ELIMINATION.-Section 16 of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590p) is repealed.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.—

(A) The Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 is amended by striking "Great Plains program" each place it appears in sections 344(f)(8) and 377 (7 U.S.C. 1344(f)(8) and 1377) and inserting "environmental quality incentives program established under chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985".

(B) Section 246(b) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6962(b)) is amended by striking paragraph (2). (c) COLORADO RIVER BASIN SALINITY CONTROL PROGRAM.

MEASURES.—The

(1) IN GENERAL.-Section 202 of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act (43 U.S.C. 1592) is amended by striking subsection (c) and inserting the following: "(c) SALINITY CONTROL Secretary of Agriculture shall carry out salinity control measures (including watershed enhancement and cost-share measures with livestock and crop producers) in the Colorado River Basin as part of the environmental quality incentives program established under chapter 4 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985.".

(2) FUNDS.-Section 205 of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act (43 U.S.C. 1595) is amended

(A) in subsection (a), by striking "pursuant to section 202(c)(2)(C)"; and

(B) by adding at the end the following: "(f) FUNDS.-The Secretary may expend funds available in the Basin Funds referred to in this section to carry out cost-share salinity measures in a manner that is consistent with the cost allocations required under this section.".

(3) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.-Section 246(b)(6) of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6962(b)(6)) is amended by striking "program" and inserting "measures".

(d) RURAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION PROGRAM.—

(1) ELIMINATION.-Title X of the Agricultural Act of 1970 (16 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) is repealed.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.-Section 246 of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (7 U.S.C. 6962) (as amended by subsection (b)(2)(B))) is amended— (A) in subsection (b)

(3)

(i) by striking paragraph (1); and (ii) by redesignating paragraphs through (8) as paragraphs (1) through (6), respectively; and

(B) in subsection (c), by striking "(2), (3), (4), and (6)" and inserting "(1), (2), and (4)”. (e) OTHER CONSERVATION PROVISIONS.-Subtitle F of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 2005a and 2101 note) is repealed.

(f) RESOURCE CONSERVATION.—

(1) ELIMINATION.-Subtitles A, B, D, E, and F of title XV of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 (95 Stat. 1328; 16 U.S.C. 3401 et seq.) are repealed.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.-Section 739 of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1992 (7 U.S.C. 2272a), is repealed.

(g) TECHNICAL AMENDMENT.-The first sentence of the matter under the heading "COMMODITY CREDIT CORPORATION" of Public Law 99-263 (100 Stat. 59; 16 U.S.C. 3841 note) is amended by striking "prices: Provided further," and all that follows through "Acts." and inserting "prices.".

(h) AGRICULTURAL WATER QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM.-Chapter 2 of subtitle D of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3838 et seq.) is repealed.

Subtitle E-Conservation Funding and
Administration

SEC. 341. CONSERVATION FUNDING AND ADMIN-
ISTRATION.

Subtitle E of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3841 et seq.) is amended to read as follows:

"Subtitle E-Funding and Administration "SEC. 1241. FUNDING.

"(a) MANDATORY EXPENSES. For each of fiscal years 1996 through 2002, the Secretary shall use the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation to carry out the programs authorized by

"(1) subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D (including contracts extended by the Secretary pursuant to section 1437 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (Public Law 101-624; 16 U.S.C. 3831 note)); "(2) subchapter C of chapter 1 of subtitle D; and

"(3) chapter 4 of subtitle D.

"(b) ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM.

"(1) IN GENERAL. Of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall make available $130,000,000 for fiscal year 1996, and $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 1997 through 2002, for providing technical assistance, cost-share payments, incentive payments, and education under the environmental quality incentives program under chapter 4 of subtitle D.

"(2) LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION.-For each of fiscal years 1996 through 2002, 50 percent of the funding available for technical assistance, cost-share payments, incentive payments, and education under the environmental quality incentives program shall be targeted at practices relating to livestock production.

"SEC. 1242. USE OF OTHER AGENCIES.

"(a) COMMITTEES.-In carrying out subtitles B, C, and D, the Secretary shall use the services of local, county, and State committees established under section 8(b) of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590h(b)).

"(b) OTHER AGENCIES.

"(1) USE.-In carrying out subtitles C and D, the Secretary may utilize the services of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Forest Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, State forestry agencies, State fish and game agencies, land-grant colleges, local, county, and State committees established under section 8(b) of the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C. 590h), soil and water conservation districts, and other appropriate agencies.

"(2) CONSULTATION.-In carrying out subtitle D at the State and county levels, the Secretary shall consult with, to the extent practicable, the Fish and Wildlife Service, State forestry agencies, State fish and game agencies, land-grant colleges, soil-conservation districts, and other appropriate agencies.

"SEC. 1243. ADMINISTRATION.

"(a) PLANS.-The Secretary shall, to the extent practicable, avoid duplication in— "(1) the conservation plans required for"(A) highly erodible land conservation under subtitle B;

"(B) the conservation reserve program established under subchapter B of chapter 1 of subtitle D; and

"(C) the wetlands reserve program established under subchapter C of chapter 1 of subtitle D; and

"(2) the environmental quality incentives program established under chapter 4 of subtitle D.

"(b) ACREAGE LIMITATION.—

"(1) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary shall not enroll more than 25 percent of the cropland in any county in the programs administered under the conservation reserve and wetlands reserve programs established under subchapters B and C, respectively, of chapter 1 of subtitle D. Not more than 10 percent of the cropland in a county may be subject to an easement acquired under the subchapters.

"(2) EXCEPTION.-The Secretary may exceed the limitations in paragraph (1) if the Secretary determines that

"(A) the action would not adversely affect the local economy of a county; and

"(B) operators in the county are having difficulties complying with conservation plans implemented under section 1212.

"(3) SHELTERBELTS AND WINDBREAKS.-The limitations established under this subsection shall not apply to cropland that is subject to an easement under chapter 1 or 3 of subtitle D that is used for the establishment of shelterbelts and windbreaks.

"(c) TENANT PROTECTION.-Except for a person who is a tenant on land that is subject to a conservation reserve contract that has been extended by the Secretary, the Secretary shall provide adequate safeguards to protect the interests of tenants and sharecroppers, including provision for sharing, on a fair and equitable basis, in payments under the programs established under subtitles B through D.

"(d) PROVISION OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE BY OTHER SOURCES.-In the preparation and application of a conservation compliance plan under subtitle B or similar plan required as a condition for assistance from the Department of Agriculture, the Secretary shall permit persons to secure technical assistance from approved sources, as determined by the Secretary, other than the Natural Resources Conservation Service. If the Secretary rejects a technical determination made by such a source, the basis of the Secretary's determination must be supported by documented evidence.

"(e) REGULATIONS.-Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, the Secretary shall issue regulations to implement the conservation reserve and wetlands reserve programs established under chapter 1 of subtitle D.".

SEC. 342. STATE TECHNICAL COMMITTEES.

(a) COMPOSITION.-Section 1261(c) of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3861(c))— (1) in paragraph (7), by striking "and" at the end:

(2) in paragraph (8), by striking the period at the end and inserting a semicolon; and

(3) by adding at the end the following: "(9) agricultural producers with demonstrable conservation expertise;

"(10) nonprofit organizations with demonstrable conservation expertise;

"(11) persons knowledgeable about conservation techniques; and

"(12) agribusiness.".

(b) RESPONSIBILITIES.-Section 1262 of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3862) is amended

(1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following: "Each State technical committee shall provide public notice of, and permit public attendance at meetings considering, issues of concern related to carrying out this title.";

(2) in subsection (b)(1), by adding at the end the following: "Each State technical committee shall establish criteria and guide

lines for evaluating petitions by agricultural producers regarding new conservation practices and systems not already described in field office technical guides."; and

(3) in subsection (c)—

(A) in paragraph (7), by striking "and" at the end;

(B) by redesignating paragraph (8) as paragraph (9); and

(C) by inserting after paragraph (7) the following:

"(8) establishing criteria and priorities for State initiatives under the environmental quality incentives program under chapter 4 of subtitle D; and".

SEC. 343. PUBLIC NOTICE AND COMMENT FOR REVISIONS ΤΟ CERTAIN STATE TECHNICAL GUIDES.

After the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall provide for public notice and comment under section 553 of title 5, United States Code, with regard to any future revisions to those provisions of the Natural Resources Conservation Service State technical guides that are used to carry out subtitles A, B, and C of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.).

Subtitle F-National Natural Resources
Conservation Foundation

SEC. 351. SHORT TITLE.

This subtitle may be cited as the "National Natural Resources Conservation Foundation Act".

SEC. 352. DEFINITIONS.

In this subtitle (unless the context otherwise requires):

(1) BOARD.-The term "Board" means the Board of Trustees established under section 354.

(2) DEPARTMENT. The term "Department" means the Department of Agriculture.

(3) FOUNDATION.-The term "Foundation" means the National Natural Resources Conservation Foundation established by section 353(a).

(4) SECRETARY.-The term term "Secretary" means the Secretary of Agriculture. SEC. 353. NATIONAL NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION FOUNDATION.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT.-A National Natural Resources Conservation Foundation is established as a charitable and nonprofit corporation for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes specified in subsection (b). The Foundation is not an agency or instrumentality of the United States.

(b) DUTIES.-The Foundation shall

(1) promote innovative solutions to the problems associated with the conservation of natural resources on private lands, particularly with respect to agriculture and soil and water conservation;

(2) promote voluntary partnerships between government and private interests in the conservation of natural resources;

(3) conduct research and undertake educational activities, conduct and support demonstration projects, and make grants to State and local agencies and nonprofit organizations;

(4) provide such other leadership and support as may be necessary to address conservation challenges, such as the prevention of excessive soil erosion, the enhancement of soil and water quality, and the protection of wetlands, wildlife habitat, and strategically important farmland subject to urban conversion and fragmentation;

(5) encourage, accept, and administer private gifts of money and real and personal property for the benefit of, or in connection with, the conservation and related activities and services of the Department, particularly the Natural Resources Conservation Service; (6) undertake, conduct, and encourage educational, technical, and other assistance, and other activities, that support the conserva

tion and related programs administered by the Department (other than activities carried out on National Forest System lands), particularly the Natural Resources Conservation Service, except that the Foundation may not enforce or administer a regulation of the Department; and

(7) raise private funds to promote the purposes of the Foundation.

(c) LIMITATIONS AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.

(1) POLITICAL ACTIVITIES.-The Foundation shall not participate or intervene in a political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.

(2) CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.-No director, officer, or employee of the Foundation shall participate, directly or indirectly, in the consideration or determination of any question before the Foundation affecting

(A) the financial interests of the director, officer, or employee; or

(B) the interests of any corporation, partnership, entity, organization, or other person in which the director, officer, or employee(i) is an officer, director, or trustee; or (ii) has any direct or indirect financial interest.

(3) LEGISLATION OR GOVERNMENT ACTION OR POLICY. No funds of the Foundation may be used in any manner for the purpose of influencing legislation or government action or policy.

(4) LITIGATION.-No funds of the Foundation may be used to bring or join an action against the United States.

SEC. 354. COMPOSITION AND OPERATION.

(a) COMPOSITION.-The Foundation shall be administered by a Board of Trustees that shall consist of 9 voting members, each of whom shall be a United States citizen and not a Federal officer. The Board shall be composed of—

(1) individuals with expertise in agricultural conservation policy matters;

(2) a representative of private sector organizations with a demonstrable interest in natural resources conservation;

(3) a representative of statewide conservation organizations;

(4) a representative of soil and water conservation districts;

(5) a representative of organizations outside the Federal Government that are dedicated to natural resources conservation education; and

(6) a farmer or rancher.

(b) NONGOVERNMENTAL EMPLOYEES.-Service as a member of the Board shall not constitute employment by, or the holding of, an office of the United States for the purposes of any Federal law.

(c) MEMBERSHIP.—

(1) INITIAL MEMBERS.-The Secretary shall appoint 9 persons who meet the criteria established under subsection (a) as the initial members of the Board and designate 1 of the members as the initial chairperson for a 2year term.

(2) TERMS OF OFFICE.

(A) IN GENERAL.-A member of the Board shall serve for a term of 3 years, except that the members appointed to the initial Board shall serve, proportionately, for terms of 1, 2, and 3 years, as determined by the Secretary. (B) LIMITATION ON TERMS.-No individual may serve more than 2 consecutive 3-year terms as a member of the Board.

(3) SUBSEQUENT MEMBERS.-The initial members of the Board shall adopt procedures in the constitution of the Foundation for the nomination and selection of subsequent members of the Board. The procedures shall require that each member, at a minimum, meets the criteria established under subsection (a) and shall provide for the selection of an individual, who is not a Federal officer or a member of the Board.

(d) CHAIRPERSON. After the appointment of an initial chairperson under subsection (c)(1), each succeeding chairperson of the Board shall be elected by the members of the Board for a 2-year term.

(e) VACANCIES.-A vacancy on the Board shall be filled by the Board not later than 60 days after the occurrence of the vacancy.

(f) COMPENSATION.-A member of the Board shall receive no compensation from the Foundation for the service of the member on the Board.

(g) TRAVEL EXPENSES.-While away from the home or regular place of business of a member of the Board in the performance of services for the Board, the member shall be allowed travel expenses paid by the Foundation, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at the same rate as a person employed intermittently in the Government service is allowed under section 5703 of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 355. OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES.

(a) IN GENERAL.-The Board may

(1) appoint, hire, and discharge the officers and employees of the Foundation, other than appoint the initial Executive Director of the Foundation;

(2) adopt a constitution and bylaws for the Foundation that are consistent with the purposes of this subtitle; and

(3) undertake any other activities that may be necessary to carry out this subtitle. (b) OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES.—

(1) APPOINTMENT AND HIRING.-An officer or employee of the Foundation—

(A) shall not, by virtue of the appointment or employment of the officer or employee, be considered a Federal employee for any purpose, including the provisions of title 5. United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, except that such an individual may participate in the Federal employee retirement system as if the individual were a Federal employee; and

(B) may not be paid by the Foundation a salary in excess of $125,000 per year. (2) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR.

(A) INITIAL DIRECTOR.-The Secretary shall appoint an individual to serve as the initial Executive Director of the Foundation who shall serve, at the direction of the Board, as the chief operating officer of the Foundation.

(B) SUBSEQUENT DIRECTORS.-The Board shall appoint each subsequent Executive Director of the Foundation who shall serve, at the direction of the Board, as the chief operating officer of the Foundation.

(C) QUALIFICATIONS.-The Executive Director shall be knowledgeable and experienced in matters relating to natural resources conservation.

SEC. 356. CORPORATE POWERS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE FOUNDATION.

(a) IN GENERAL.-The Foundation(1) may conduct business throughout the United States and the territories and possessions of the United States; and

(2) shall at all times maintain a designated agent who is authorized to accept service of process for the Foundation, so that the serving of notice to, or service of process on, the agent, or mailed to the business address of the agent, shall be considered as service on or notice to the Foundation.

(b) SEAL.-The Foundation shall have an official seal selected by the Board that shall be judicially noticed.

(c) POWERS.-To carry out the purposes of the Foundation under section 353(b), the Foundation shall have, in addition to the powers otherwise provided under this subtitle, the usual powers of a corporation, including the power

(1) to accept, receive, solicit, hold, administer, and use any gift, devise, or bequest, either absolutely or in trust, of real or per

sonal property or any income from, or other interest in, the gift, devise, or bequest;

(2) to acquire by purchase or exchange any real or personal property or interest in property, except that funds provided under section 360 may not be used to purchase an interest in real property;

(3) unless otherwise required by instrument of transfer, to sell, donate, lease, invest, reinvest, retain, or otherwise dispose of any property or income from property;

(4) to borrow money from private sources and issue bonds, debentures, or other debt instruments, subject to section 359, except that the aggregate amount of the borrowing and debt instruments outstanding at any time may not exceed $1,000,000;

(5) to sue and be sued, and complain and defend itself, in any court of competent jurisdiction, except that a member of the Board shall not be personally liable for an action in the performance of services for the Board, except for gross negligence;

(6) to enter into a contract or other agreement with an agency of State or local government, educational institution, or other private organization or person and to make such payments as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Foundation; and

(7) to do any and all acts that are necessary to carry out the purposes of the Foundation.

(d) INTERESTS IN PROPERTY.— (1) INTERESTS IN REAL PROPERTY.-The Foundation may acquire, hold, and dispose of lands, waters, or other interests in real property by donation, gift, devise, purchase, or exchange. An interest in real property shall be treated, among other things, as including an easement or other right for the preservation, conservation, protection, or enhancement of agricultural, natural, scenic, historic, scientific, educational, inspirational, or recreational resources.

(2) GIFTS.-A gift, devise, or bequest may be accepted by the Foundation even though the gift, devise, or bequest is encumbered, restricted, or subject to a beneficial interest of a private person if any current or future interest in the gift, devise, or bequest is for the benefit of the Foundation.

SEC. 357. ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES AND SUPPORT.

For each of fiscal years 1996 through 1998, the Secretary may provide, without reimbursement, personnel, facilities, and other administrative services of the Department to the Foundation.

SEC. 358. AUDITS AND PETITION OF ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR EQUITABLE RELIEF.

(a) AUDITS.

(1) IN GENERAL.-The accounts of the Foundation shall be audited in accordance with Public Law 88-504 (36 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), including an audit of lobbying and litigation activities carried out by the Foundation.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.-The first section of Public Law 88-504 (36 U.S.C. 1101) is amended by adding at the end the following: "(77) The National Natural Resources Conservation Foundation.".

(b) RELIEF WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN FOUNDATION ACTS OR FAILURE TO ACT.-The Attorney General may petition in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for such equitable relief as may be necessary appropriate, if the Foundation

or

(1) engages in, or threatens to engage in, any act, practice, or policy that is inconsistent with this subtitle; or

(2) refuses, fails, neglects, or threatens to refuse, fail, or neglect, to discharge the obligations of the Foundation under this subtitle.

SEC. 359. RELEASE FROM LIABILITY.

(a) IN GENERAL.-The United States shall not be liable for any debt, default, act, or

omission of the Foundation. The full faith and credit of the United States shall not extend to the Foundation.

(b) STATEMENT.-An obligation issued by the Foundation, and a document offering an obligation, shall include a prominent statement that the obligation is not directly or indirectly guaranteed, in whole or in part, by the United States (or an agency or instrumentality of the United States).

SEC. 360. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS. There are authorized to be appropriated to the Department to be made available to the Foundation $1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 1997 through 1999 to initially establish and carry out activities of the Foundation.

Subtitle G-Forestry

SEC. 371. OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL FORESTRY. Section 2405 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 U.S.C. 6704) is amended by adding at the end the following:

"(d) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.— There are authorized to be appropriated for each of fiscal years 1996 through 2002 such sums as are necessary to carry out this section.".

SEC. 372. COOPERATIVE WORK FOR PROTECTION, MANAGEMENT, AND IMPROVEMENT

OF NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM. The penultimate paragraph of the matter under the heading "FOREST SERVICE." of the first section of the Act of June 30, 1914 (38 Stat. 430, chapter 131; 16 U.S.C. 498), is amended

(1) by inserting ", management," after "the protection";

(2) by striking "national forests," and inserting "National Forest System,";

(3) by inserting "management," after "protection," both places it appears; and

(4) by adding at the end the following: "Payment for work undertaken pursuant to this paragraph may be made from any appropriation of the Forest Service that is available for similar work if a written agreement so provides and reimbursement will be provided by a cooperator in the same fiscal year as the expenditure by the Forest Service. A reimbursement received from a cooperator that covers the proportionate share of the cooperator of the cost of the work shall be deposited to the credit of the appropriation of the Forest Service from which the payment was initially made or, if the appropriation is no longer available, to the credit of an appropriation of the Forest Service that is available for similar work. The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish written rules that establish criteria to be used to determine whether the acceptance of contributions of money under this paragraph would adversely affect the ability of an officer or employee of the Department of Agriculture to carry out a duty or program of the officer or employee in a fair and objective manner or would compromise, or appear to compromise, the integrity of the program, officer, or employee. The Secretary of Agriculture shall establish written rules that protect the interests of the Forest Service in cooperative work agreements.".

SEC. 373. FORESTRY INCENTIVES PROGRAM.

Section 4 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2103) is amended

(1) in subsection (j), by striking "annually" and inserting "for each of fiscal years 1996 through 2002”; and

(2) by striking subsection (k).

SEC. 374. OPTIONAL STATE GRANTS FOR FOREST LEGACY PROGRAM.

Section 7 of the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2103c) is amended

(1) by redesignating subsection (1) as subsection (m); and

(2) by inserting after subsection (k) the following:

"(1) OPTIONAL STATE GRANTS.

"(1) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary shall, at the request of a participating State, provide a grant to the State to carry out the Forest Legacy Program in the State.

"(2) ADMINISTRATION.—If a State elects to receive a grant under this subsection—

"(A) the Secretary shall use a portion of the funds made available under subsection (m), as determined by the Secretary, to provide grant to the State; and

"(B) the State shall use the grant to carry out the Forest Legacy Program in the State, including the acquisition by the State of lands and interests in lands.".

Subtitle H-Miscellaneous Conservation
Provisions

SEC. 381. CONSERVATION ACTIVITIES OF COM-
MODITY CREDIT CORPORATION.
(a) IN GENERAL.-Section 5 of the Com-
modity Credit Corporation Charter Act (15)
U.S.C. 714c) is amended-

(1) by redesignating subsection (g) as subsection (h); and

(2) by inserting after subsection (f) the following:

"(g) Carry out conservation or environmental programs authorized by law.".

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.-The amendments made by subsection (a) shall become effective on January 1, 1997.

SEC. 382. FLOODPLAIN EASEMENTS.

Section 403 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2203) is amended by inserting", including the purchase of floodplain easements," after "emergency measures". SEC. 383. RESOURCE CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM.

Section 1538 of the Agriculture and Food Act of 1981 (16 U.S.C. 3461) is amended by striking "1991 through 1995" and inserting "1996 through 2002".

SEC. 384. REPEAL OF REPORT REQUIREMENT. Section 1342 of title 44, United States Code, is repealed.

SEC. 385. FLOOD RISK REDUCTION.

(a) IN GENERAL.-During fiscal years 1996 through 2002, the Secretary of Agriculture (referred to in this section as the "Secretary") may enter into a contract with a producer on a farm who has contract acreage under the Agricultural Market Transition Act that is frequently flooded.

(b) DUTIES OF PRODUCERS.-Under the terms of the contract, with respect to acres that are subject to the contract, the producer must agree to

(1) the termination of any contract acreage and production flexibility contract under the Agricultural Market Transition Act;

(2) forgo loans for contract commodities, oilseeds, and extra long staple cotton;

(3) not apply for crop insurance issued or reinsured by the Secretary;

(4) comply with applicable highly erodible land and wetlands conservation compliance requirements established under title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3801 et seq.);

(5) not apply for any conservation program payments from the Secretary;

(6) not apply for disaster program benefits provided by the Secretary; and

(7) refund the payments, with interest, issued under the flood risk reduction contract to the Secretary, if the producer violates the terms of the contract or if the producer transfers the property to another person who violates the contract.

(c) DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY.-In return for a contract entered into by a producer under this section, the Secretary shall pay the producer an amount that is not more than 95 percent of projected contract payments under the Agricultural Market Tran

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