Farm Bill Update

I’m not following the Farm Bill, so it would be nice if a member of the TSW community would volunteer to keep us abreast of the latest. Here’s what came across my desk:

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Chairman Thompson, House Ag Committee, released additional details related to Farm Bill reauthorization last Friday. While the release does not include bill text, a more detailed summary is now available at:

detailed_summary_-_pdf.pdf (house.gov)

 

While bill text is not yet available for review, there are several interesting provisions. Some of the notable items include:

 

  • Includes H.R. 1450 to authorize counties and tribes to retain and use timber sale receipts on land covered by the GNA agreement.
  • Includes H.R. 3562 to provide flexible housing partnerships to alleviate rural housing challenges and provide up to 100-year lease terms and renewals on administrative sites.
  • Reauthorizes and modernizes the Wood Innovation Grant Program, reduces the non-Federal match, and authorizes grants for hauling hazardous fuels reduction materials to locations that can utilize it. Reauthorizes and modernizes the Wood Innovation Grant Program, reduces the non-Federal match, and authorizes grants for hauling hazardous fuels reduction materials to locations that can utilize it.
  • Establishes a CE for high priority hazard tree activities.
  • Includes a Cottonwood Fix
  • Increases the threshold required to advertise timber sales on National Forest System land to reflect inflation.
  • Extends the authorization of Resource Advisory Committees and the Regional Forester appointment pilot program.
  • Provides the Forest Service direct hire authority for Job Corps graduates.

 

Stay tuned as actual bill text from the House Ag Committee could be available in the next week or so. You may also recall, Chairwoman Stabenow also released the following summary of her Farm Bill last week at:

Rural Prosperity and Food Security Section-By-Section (senate.gov)

 

Similarly, we do not have bill text from Senate Ag, but the summary includes the following notable provisions (among others):

  • Authorization for Lease of Forest Service Sites. Increases lease terms to 100 years.
  • Expands GNA to allow counties and Tribes to retain revenue received from the sale of timber. Allows authorized restoration activities in certain circumstances on non—Federal land.
  • Authorizes a pilot conservation finance program
  • Builds on the REPLANT Act by establishing dedicated staff for the Forest Service Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources program, expands technical assistance and workforce development training for nursery and tree establishment programs, and creates a grant program for State, Tribal, and private nurseries to improve nursery production capacity.
  • Expands the reach of the Wood Innovations Grant Program by reducing the match requirement
  • Establishes an Urban and Community Forestry Office within the Forest Service and a microforest grant program

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4 thoughts on “Farm Bill Update”

  1. Despite what Republican governors say trees growing on public land in the Mountain West are not agriculture any more than wild salmon are aquaculture.

    European settlement and the Industrial Revolution in the New World took hardwoods for charcoal then humans allowed fast-growing conifers to replace lost forests. Desertification driven by agricultural practices, overgrazing, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and urban sprawl have turned much of the United States into concrete heat islands.

    If I were King the Forest Service would be moved to Interior now.

    Reply
    • Larry, if I were Queen, the BLM would be moved to Agriculture to get away from political swings. Or just fix the statute and make the Director career.

      Reply
      • Follow the money, Professor.

        In red states like South Dakota freedom equals the right to pollute.

        After the last farm bill was enacted in 2018 Trump era Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue gave away a pool of cash in the 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at buying off welfare farmers.

        Kristi Noem’s husband is an insurance peddler and so is Senator Mike Rounds. Sen. John Thune is already notorious for encouraging moral hazard and adding layers of government overreach to the farm bill and subsidies for loggers like Neiman Enterprises who rip up Colorado forests.

        The American Farm Bureau Federation is notorious for conflicts of interest and denying the human effects on a warming climate while lobbying extensively for crop insurance in the federal farm bill and against Waters of the United States or WOTUS rules while ag bankers continue to enslave landowners.

        Reply
  2. From the “detailed summary:”
    “Simplifies environmental process requirements, while ensuring environmental protection by building upon the success of categorical exclusions and other streamlined authorities.
    • Expands the insect and disease CE to 10,000 acres.
    • Expands the wildfire resilience CE to 10,000 acres.
    • Expands the fuel break CE to 10,000 acres.
    • Provides technical corrections to the greater sage grouse and mule deer habitat CE and allows for up to 4,500 acres in forested ecosystems and 7,500 acres in rangeland ecosystems.
    • Establishes a CE for high priority hazard tree activities.
    • Includes H.R. 200, the Cottonwood Fix.
    • Reduces bureaucracy in the removal of trees around electrical lines, as seen in H.R. 6012 .
    • Includes H.R. 2989 to establish a comprehensive approach to addressing the demise of the giant sequoia tree species and provide the Secretary with emergency authorities.”

    H. R. 2989 summary:

    “Specifically, it provides statutory authority for the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition and outlines the coalition’s duties. The coalition must submit a Giant Sequoia Health and Resiliency Assessment and annually update it. The information from the assessment must be made available so the information can be integrated into certain other plans. The coalition must also create and maintain a website that contains the assessment, educational materials, searchable information about individual giant sequoia groves, and a searchable database to track the status and costs of reforestation and rehabilitation activities.

    In addition, the bill declares an emergency on certain public lands and allows officials to carry out protection plans during the emergency to respond to the threat of wildfires, insects, and drought. The emergency expires after seven years.”

    What is left unsaid is that this would allow them to exempt projects related to sequoias from NEPA and ESA requirements.
    https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/3999787-save-our-sequoias-act-divides-environmental-groups/

    Reply

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