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                                                       Calendar No. 797
106th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     106-407

======================================================================



 
       CARBON CYCLE AND AGRICULTURAL BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH ACT

                                _______
                                

               September 12, 2000.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Lugar, from the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 1066]

    The Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, to 
which was referred the bill (S. 1066) to amend the National 
Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 
1977 to encourage the use of and research into agricultural 
best practices to improve the environment, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
 I. Purpose, need and background......................................1
II. Section-by-section analysis.......................................3
III.Legislative history and votes in committee........................6

IV. Regulatory impact statement.......................................7
 V. Budgetary impact of the bill......................................7
VI. Changes in existing law..........................................10

                    I. Purpose, Need and Background

    After the completion of the Kyoto Protocol, an 
international treaty designed to limit greenhouse gas 
emissions, a number of persons and organizations in American 
agriculture expressed serious concern about the potential 
economic impact it may have on food and fiber production. There 
may be common sense agricultural practices addressing climate 
change that can offer positive environmental benefits in other 
areas. Research shows that agriculture provides significant 
environmental benefits through agricultural best management 
practices that enhance the carbon cycle.
    We continue to learn more about carbon dioxide uptake 
through research. For example, in 1998 scientific findings from 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate 
Modeling and Diagnostics Laboratory showed the North American 
continent absorbed from 1988 to 1992 an amount of carbon 
dioxide (CO2) equal to or exceeding North American 
carbon dioxide emissions from the same time period. This 
finding is consistent with the statement contained in the 
Executive Summary of the 1999 Carbon Cycle Science Plan, ``the 
understanding of carbon sources and sinks has advanced 
enormously in the last decade. There is now clear evidence that 
global uptake of anthropogenic CO2 occurs by both 
land plants and by the oceans.''
    Carbon sequestration describes the process of how the 
carbon cycle converts carbon dioxide absorbed by crops and 
trees to carbon that is incorporated into soil. Carbon 
sequestration is the process of best management practices 
returning organic matter consisting of humus, stubble, and crop 
litter that is 40 to 60% carbon back into soil. Researchers 
estimate that the physical potential for carbon sequestration 
in U.S. crop lands is as much as 200 million tons of carbon 
each year. The equivalent of 200 million tons of carbon is 307 
million tons of coal. For comparison, some coal-fueled 
utilities use 10 to 15 millions tons of coal annually.
    How does carbon sequestration actually work on the farm and 
field? Conservation tillage incorporates crop residues as part 
of the planting and harvesting processes that increases soil 
organic carbon levels. Adjusting cropping patterns can also 
augment soil organic carbon levels. In the Great Plains, 
intensifying cropping systems by conversion from wheat-fallow 
rotation to wheat-grain sorghum-fallow rotation increases soil 
organic carbon levels. Additionally, intensive management of 
grasslands, including prescribed burning, also can boost soil 
organic carbon levels in soils that provide forage for cattle 
and other livestock.
    These common sense best management practices that are 
increasing soil organic carbon levels have multiple 
environmental benefits in addition to offsetting carbon dioxide 
emissions. Increased soil organic carbon levels retain more 
water, increase soil fertility to improve yields, and make 
soils more erosion resistant which improves water quality.
    In order to facilitate the continued research of the carbon 
cycle and increased use of voluntary best practice management 
tools, the legislation elevates carbon cycle research to a 
priority item for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
research agenda. USDA has a broad research base unique to the 
federal government through the Natural Resources Conservation 
Service and the Agricultural Research Service, supplemented by 
America's land grant universities. Delivery and dissemination 
of research findings and information can be distributed through 
USDA's extension system, a reliable and trustworthy source of 
information for every agricultural operation.
    Agricultural scientists' basic understanding of the carbon 
cycle and agricultural best management practices have led to 
these important findings, but we need more research to start 
theprogression of this science to use on a daily basis by 
producers. There are new exciting production tools that should be 
included in this research, including global positioning systems that 
guide crop chemical and fertilizer application as well as monitoring 
yields. Furthermore, potential breakthroughs can combine this on-farm 
information with satellite-based remote sensing for cost effective 
monitoring of carbon sequestration results.
    The Committee recognizes that an array of benefits to the 
general public and individual farmers can be generated from 
broader adoption of conserving agricultural practices. These 
benefits include reduced soil erosion, reduced chemical runoff 
into ground and surface water, improved air quality, and 
sequestration of carbon into soils. The Committee anticipates 
that farmers will be eventually able to realize some return for 
providing these benefits, either through public programs that 
provide voluntary incentive payments or private valuation 
through environmental markets, which would be a positive 
outcome for all concerned. Such streams of income would 
originate from different sources, and the Committee sees no 
reason to restrict farmers' ability to capitalize on such 
opportunities.
    The Committee believes that many of the scientific 
techniques that will be used to measure the accumulation of 
carbon in soils and above-ground biomass already exist, but 
work needs to be done to combine these practices to arrive at 
an accounting framework that is both scientifically defensible 
and cost-effective for implementing practices at a field-level 
scale. One of the major objectives of this legislation is to 
encourage collaboration among Federal agencies and scientific 
institutions where such expertise resides and make their joint 
efforts accessible to those who might make use of such a 
framework.

                    II. Section-by-Section Analysis


Section 1. Short title

    This Act may be cited as the ``Carbon Cycle and 
Agricultural Best Practices Research Act.''

Section 2. Findings

    The findings set forth the fact that voluntary agricultural 
best practices contribute multiple conservation benefits. The 
findings state USDA research on these practices should be 
increased to quantify how best management practices convert 
carbon dioxide into soil organic carbon that in turns reduces 
soil erosion, improves water quality, and increases yields.

Section 3. Agricultural best practices

    The section amends Title XIV of the National Agricultural 
Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 1977 by adding 
the following:

        Subtitle N--Carbon Cycle and Agricultural Best Practices


Section 1490. Definitions.

    This section defines terms used in the bill.

Section 1491. Carbon cycle and agricultural best practices research.

    Subsection (a) states that USDA will be the lead agency 
with respect to agricultural soil carbon research within the 
Federal government.
    Subsection (b) Research Services.
    Paragraph (b)(1) Agricultural Research Service. This 
paragraph provides for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), 
in collaboration with other Federal agencies, to develop data 
and conduct research addressing soil carbon. The study should 
include the following: the effects of management and 
conservation on soil organic carbon; evaluation of the long-
term impact of tillage and residue systems; the transfer of 
organic carbon to soil; and the carbon storage of commodities.
    Paragraph (b)(2) Natural Resources Conservation Service.
    Subparagraph (b)(2)(A) states that NRCS is authorized to 
develop a soil carbon database to provide information to users 
about soil carbon that could be incorporated into national, 
state, and local county maps. This provision sets forth the 
research mission to improve U.S. soils databases with a basic 
unit of information related to carbon in soils, making it 
understandable to the public and users.
    Subparagraph (b)(2)(B) states that NRCS shall disseminate a 
national basic unit of information for an assessment of the 
carbon storage potential of soils.
    Paragraph (b)(3) Economic Research Service Report. This 
paragraph directs the Economic Research Service to complete 
within one year of enactment a thorough economic analysis of 
the Kyoto Protocol's impact on agriculture, taking into account 
market mechanisms, such as permit trading, with and without 
developing country participation, carbon sink accounting, and 
possible command and control measures.
    Paragraph (b)(4) Cooperative State Research, Education, and 
Extension Service (CSREES).
    Paragraph (b)(4)(A) provides for the development of a 
comprehensive national carbon cycle and agricultural best 
practices research agenda by CSREES through land-grant colleges 
and universities.
    Paragraph (b)(4)(B) provides for research opportunities to 
improve the scientific basisfor using land management practices 
to increase soil carbon, including innovative methods using 
biotechnology and nanotechnology.
    Subparagraph (b)(4)(C) provides the Secretary, acting 
through CSREES, authority to: use partnerships to identify, 
develop, and evaluate agricultural best practices; develop 
computer models to predict and assess the carbon cycle; 
estimate and develop mechanisms to measure change in carbon 
levels resulting from voluntary programs; develop outreach 
programs; and research new technologies that may increase 
carbon cycle effectiveness.
    Subsection (c) Consortia.
    Paragraph (c)(1) authorizes the Secretary to select two 
consortia. By selecting two consortia, CSREES will direct basic 
and applied research on carbon cycle and best management 
practices encompassing varied farming and ranching operations, 
climates, and precipitation. The consortia will deliver 
research findings and information through the extension system 
to producers and ranchers interested in this issue.
    Paragraph (c)(2) states that the consortia designated by 
the Secretary will be selected in a competitive process by 
CSREES.
    Paragraph (c)(3) defines eligibility for participants in 
the consortia.
    Paragraph (c)(4) authorizes appropriations of $5 million 
for each of fiscal years 2001 through 2005.
    Subsection (d) Promotion of Agricultural Best Practices. 
This subsection directs the Secretary to promote voluntary 
agricultural best practices that take into account soil organic 
matter dynamics, carbon cycle, ecology and soil organisms that 
will lead to more effective use of soil resources.
    Subsection (e) Annual Report. This subsection directs the 
Secretary to submit an annual report to the Senate and House 
Agriculture Committees describing the consortia and other 
research findings and extension outreach as well as scientific 
peer reviews.

Section 1492. Carbon cycle remote sensing technology

    Because verification of soil carbon levels is expensive and 
time consuming, scientists believe that satellite-based remote 
sensing may be the most cost-effective method. This section 
directs USDA and the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration (NASA) to develop a carbon cycle remote sensing 
technology program to create remote sensing products that can 
be used in research and commercial applications. This builds on 
the 1998 USDA/NASA Memorandum of Understanding titled 
``Cooperation and Coordination in Science, and Technology 
Research, Development, Transfer, Utilization, and 
Commercialization.''
    Subsection (a) Carbon Cycle Remote Sensing Technology. This 
subsection directs the Secretary, in cooperation with the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to 
develop a carbon cycle remote sensing technology program.
    Subsection (b) Use of Centers. This subsection directs the 
NASA Administrator to use the regional earth science 
application centers to conduct the research.
    Subsection (c) Researched Areas. This subsection defines 
the areas of research.
    Subsection (d) Authorization of Appropriations. This 
subsection authorizes appropriations of $5 million for each of 
fiscal years 2001 through 2005.

Section 1493. Research incentive payments

    In order to get widespread research across the country 
about what works and what does not, it is good policy to 
encourage USDA to provide small payments to producers to allow 
researchers physical access to their farms to collect and 
analyze data on best management practices, especially as 
research moves from research plots to whole farms.
    Subsection (a) allows the Secretary to provide research 
incentive payments to farmers and ranchers who allow 
researchers to collect data.
    Subsection (b) Confidentiality. This subsection provides 
for confidentiality of acquired research data.
    Subsection (c) Authorization of Appropriations. This 
subsection authorizes appropriations of such sums as are 
necessary to carry out this section for each of fiscal years 
2001 through 2005.

Section 1494. Assistance for agricultural best practices and natural 
        resource management plans under conservation programs

    Subsection (a) directs the Secretary to provide technical 
assistance on best management practices through extension 
activities to increase the use of voluntary best management 
plans that will increase soil carbon levels.
    Subsection (b) Information to Developing Nations. This 
subsection directs the Secretary to share information on the 
environmental benefits of agricultural best practices to 
developing nations.
    Subsection (c) Authorization of Appropriations.This 
subsection authorizes appropriations of such sums as are necessary to 
carry out this section for each of fiscal years 2001 through 2005.

Section 1495. Trace gas network system

    A key research component is identifying when and where 
carbon dioxide is being absorbed. Since USDA and the National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are conducting 
similar research on a local level about how and where carbon 
dioxide is stored in soil, USDA and NOAA should combine their 
efforts.
    Subsection (a) states that the Secretary, with the 
cooperation of NASA, may establish a nationwide trace gas 
network.
    Subsection (b) defines the purpose of the trace gas 
network.
    Subsection (c) directs the Secretary and Administrator to 
enter into a Memorandum of Understanding to ensure each agency 
can develop and utilize a joint research network.
    Subsection (d) authorizes $10 million in appropriations to 
carry out this section.

              III. Legislative History and Committee Vote


                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    On May 4, 2000, the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on 
Price Competitiveness and Production held a hearing examining 
carbon cycle research and the role of agriculture in reducing 
greenhouse gases. The purpose of the hearing was to hear from 
scientists, agricultural producers, and Administration 
officials on carbon cycle research, how it needs to be 
improved, and why it provides multiple environmental benefits.
    The first panel testifying included Dr. David Hofmann, 
Director, Climate Modeling and Diagnostics Laboratory, National 
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Keith Collins, Chief 
Economist, United States Department of Agriculture; and Richard 
Stuckey, Executive Vice President, Council for Agricultural 
Science and Technology (CAST).
    Dr. Hofmann testified the North American continent presents 
a major sink for carbon dioxide emissions. Dr. Hofmann also 
described plans to study this important sink, and in 
particular, its regional nature. Dr. Collins pointed out the 
types of research that additional funding would support include 
the Agricultural Research Service collaborating with other 
Federal agencies to expand data and research on the role of 
agriculture in the carbon balance and define ways which farmers 
and ranchers can store carbon in agricultural soils. Special 
emphasis would be given to measuring the effects of management 
and conservation practices on carbon storage in cropland and 
grazing lands, particularly the long-term impacts of tillage 
and residue management systems on accumulation of organic 
carbon. Dr. Stuckey reviewed for the Subcommittee the recent 
CAST issue paper acknowledging that organic matter contributes 
greatly to plant productivity and ecosystem stability. Land 
management is a critical component of whether the net change in 
the soil carbon is a gain or a loss.
    The second panel testifying included Dr. Chuck Rice, Soil 
Microbiology Professor, Department of Agronomy, Kansas State 
University; Dr. John M. Kimble, Research Soil Scientist, United 
States Department of Agriculture; William Richards, Former 
Chief of the Soil Conservation Service; and John Haas, Kansas 
producer.
    Dr. Rice shared with the Subcommittee that Kansas State 
University research has shown that conservation tillage can 
sequester 0.2 to 0.4 tons of carbon per acre. Under the 
scenario of one million acres under conservation tillage, this 
land could hold the carbon equivalent of 85 million gallons of 
gasoline each year. Dr. Kimble testified that for research to 
be most effective, it requires collaboration among scientists 
from many different disciplines, and must eventually move from 
the lab to the whole farm. Mr. Richards provided that a 
stewardship approach can be embraced and that agriculture will 
be given the chance to mitigate the climate change problem long 
enough for scientists to find long-term solutions to our 
problems. Finally, Mr. Haas shared the multiple positive 
benefits he has seen on his farm using no-till, including 
better quality crops, greater variety, and higher value at the 
elevator.

                             COMMITTEE VOTE

    In compliance with paragraph 7 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, the following statement is made concerning 
the votes of the Committee in its consideration of the bill:
    The Committee met in open session on Tuesday, June 20, 2000 
and, in the presence of a quorum, ordered that the bill be 
favorably reported by a voice vote.

                    IV. Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the following evaluation is made 
concerning the regulatory impact of enacting this legislation:
    The Committee has determined that this legislation will 
have no detrimental impact on the private sector as a result of 
regulatory requirements. The Committee does not anticipate an 
adverse impact on the personal privacy of individuals affected 
by this legislation or an increase in paperwork or record 
keeping requirements.

                    V. Budgetary Impact of the Bill

    In accordance with paragraph 11(a) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the following letter has been 
received from the Congressional Budget Office regarding the 
budgetary impact of the bill:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, July 19, 2000.
Hon. Richard G. Lugar,
Chairman, Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, U.S. 
        Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 1066, the Carbon 
Cycle and Agricultural Best Practices Research Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is James 
Langley.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 1066--Carbon Cycle and Agricultural Best Practices Act

    Summary: S. 106 would authorize appropriations for fiscal 
years 2001 through 2005 for agricultural research and incentive 
programs related to the earth's carbon cycle and other 
environmental concerns. Assuming appropriation of the necessary 
amounts and adjusting for anticipated inflation, CBO estimates 
that implementing the bill would cost $417 million over the 
2001-2005 period. (Without any adjustment for inflation, 
implementation costs would be about $402 million over this 
period.) S. 1066 would not affect direct spending or receipts; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply. S. 1066 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would 
impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: For this 
estimate, CBO assumes that the amounts authorized will be 
appropriated for each fiscal year and that spending will follow 
the pattern of past appropriations for similar projects. The 
estimated impact of S. 1066 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 350 
(agriculture).

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                                    --------------------------------------------
                                                                       2001     2002     2003     2004     2005
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level......................................      101       93       94       96       97
Estimated Outlays..................................................       64       77       87       93       96
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: S. 1066 would amend the National 
Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching Policy Act of 
1977 to expand federal support for agricultural programs that 
benefit the environment, especially those that affect carbon 
storage in soils. For example, it would authorize the 
Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study the effects of 
agricultural systems and ``best practices'' on the carbon 
balance in soils develop a database on the carbon storage 
potential of soils and support interagency programs to monitor 
the carbon cycle. The bill also would authorize payments and 
technical assistance for agricultural producers that 
participate in research programs for best practices that 
protect the environment. All of the funding authorized in S. 
1066 would be subject to appropriation.

Environment research

    Based on information provided by USDA, CBO estimates that 
S. 1066 would authorize the appropriation of $86 million for 
fiscal year 2001, including $75 million for the following 
research initiatives outlined in the bill:
           $30 million for the Agricultural Research 
        Service to develop data and conduct research addressing 
        soil carbon balance and storage;
           $20 million for the Cooperative State 
        Research, Education, and Extension Service to develop a 
        research agenda on the carbon cycle and agricultural 
        best practices, and to identify, develop, and evaluate 
        agricultural best practices;
           $15 million for the Natural Resources 
        Conservation Service to develop a soil carbon database, 
        linked electronically to county-level soil surveys and 
        state-level soil maps, for an assessment of the carbon 
        storage potential of soils in the United States;
           $5 million as specified in the bill for up 
        to two research consortia that would study and promote 
        agricultural best practices related to the carbon 
        cycle; and
           $5 million as specified in the bill for a 
        cooperative effort between USDA and the National 
        Aeronautics and Space Administration for a remote 
        sensing program that would focus on carbon 
        sequestration.
    CBO estimates that the above activities would continue 
under the bill at an annual cost of $75 million adjusted for 
anticipated inflation over the 2002-2005 period.
    In addition, the bill would authorize the appropriation of 
$10 million for a joint research initiative between USDA and 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to 
establish a national network for measuring trace gases that 
would document the flux of carbon between soil, air, and water. 
CBO assumes that all of those funds would be appropriated in 
fiscal year 2001.
    Finally, the bill would direct the Economic Research 
Service to submit a report no later than one year after 
enactment that analyzes the impact of the financial health of 
the farm economy of the United States under the Kyoto Protocol 
and other international agreements under the Framework 
Convention on Climate Change. CBO estimates that preparing this 
report would require the appropriation of $1 million in fiscal 
year 2001.

Incentive and assistance programs

    CBO estimates that S. 1066 would authorize the 
appropriation of about $15 million for each of fiscal years 
2001 through 2005 for payments and technical assistance to 
producers that cooperate in scientific research on agricultural 
best practices on their farms. Based on information from USDA, 
CBO estimates that producers with 2 million acres (around 5 
percent of acres enrolled in major conservation programs) would 
participate in these programs. For this estimate, CBO assumes 
that those producers would receive an annual payment of $2.50 
per acre for cooperating in the research programs. In addition, 
we estimate that requiring USDA to assist those producers in 
planning, designing, and implementing agricultural best 
practices and natural resource management plans would cost 
about $5.00 per acre.
    Pay-as-you-go considerations: None.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: S. 1066 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on the state, local, 
or tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: James Langley. Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie Miller. 
Impact on the Private Sector: Jean Wooster.
    Estimate approved by: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      VI. Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made in 
the bill, as reported are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
material is printed in italic, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):

 NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH, EXTENSION, AND TEACHING POLICY ACT OF 
                                  1977

                    TITLE XIV--RESEARCH ACT OF 1977

    Sec. 1483. (a) There are authorized to be appropriated, to 
implement the provisions of this subtitle, such sums not to 
exceed $10,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 1991 through 
2002.
    (b) Funds appropriated under this section shall be 
allocated by the Secretary to eligible institutions for work to 
be done as mutually agreed upon between the Secretary and the 
eligible institution or institutions.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


       [Subtitle N--Carbon Cycle and Agricultural Best Practices

[SEC. 1490. DEFINITIONS.

    [In this subtitle:
          [(1) Agricultural best practice.--The term 
        ``agricultural best practice'' means a voluntary 
        practice used by 1 or more agricultural producers to 
        manage a farm or ranch that has a beneficial or minimal 
        impact on the environment, including--
                  [(A) crop residue management;
                  [(B) soil erosion management;
                  [(C) nutrient management;
                  [(D) remote sensing;
                  [(E) precision agriculture;
                  [(F) integrated pest management;
                  [(G) animal waste management;
                  [(H) cover crop management;
                  [(I) water quality and utilization 
                management;
                  [(J) grazing and range management;
                  [(K) wetland management;
                  [(L) buffer strip use; and
                  [(M) tree planting.
          [(2) Conservation program.--The term ``conservation 
        program'' means a program established under--
                  [(A) subtitle D of title XII of the Food 
                Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3830 et seq.);
                  [(B) section 401 or 402 of the Agricultural 
                Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2201, 2202);
                  [(C) section 3 or 8 of the Watershed 
                Protection and Flood Prevention Act (16 U.S.C. 
                1003, 1006a); or
                  [(D) any other provision of law that 
                authorizes the Secretary to make payments or 
                provide other assistance to agricultural 
                producers to promote conservation.

[SEC. 1491. CARBON CYCLE AND AGRICULTURAL BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH.

    [(a) In General.--The Department of Agriculture shall be 
the lead agency with respect to any agricultural soil carbon 
research conducted by the Federal Government.
    [(b) Research Services.--
          [(1) Agricultural research service.--The Secretary, 
        acting through the Agricultural Research Service, shall 
        collaborate with other Federal agencies to develop data 
        and conduct research addressing soil carbon balance and 
        storage, making special efforts to--
                  [(A) determine the effects of management and 
                conservation on carbon storage in cropland and 
                grazing land;
                  [(B) evaluate the long-term impact of tillage 
                and residue management systems on the 
                accumulation of organic carbon;
                  [(C) study the transfer of organic carbon to 
                soil; and
                  [(D) study carbon storage of commodities.
          [(2) Natural resources conservation service.--
                  [(A) Research missions.--The research 
                missions of the Secretary, acting through the 
                Natural Resources Conservation Service, 
                include--
                          [(i) the development of a soil carbon 
                        database to--
                                  [(I) provide online access to 
                                information about soil carbon 
                                potential in a format that 
                                facilitates the use of the 
                                database in making land 
                                management decisions; and
                                  [(II) allow additional and 
                                more refined data to be linked 
                                to similar databases containing 
                                information on forests and 
                                rangeland;
                          [(ii) the conversion to an electronic 
                        format and linkage to the national soil 
                        database described in clause (i) of 
                        county-level soil surveys and State-
                        level soil maps;
                          [(iii) updating of State-level soil 
                        maps;
                          [(iv) the linkage, for information 
                        purposes only, of soil information to 
                        other soil and land use databases; and
                          [(v) the completion of evaluations, 
                        such as field validation and 
                        calibration, of modeling, remote 
                        sensing, and statistical inventory 
                        approaches to carbon stock assessments 
                        related to land management practices 
                        and agronomic systems at the field, 
                        regional, and national levels.
                  [(B) Unit of information.--The Secretary, 
                acting through the Natural Resources 
                Conservation Service, shall disseminate a 
                national basic unit of information for an 
                assessment of the carbon storage potential of 
                soils in the United States.
          [(3) Economic research service report.--Not later 
        than 1 year after the date of enactment of this 
        section, the Secretary, acting through the Economic 
        Research Service, shall submit to the Committee on 
        Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the 
        Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of 
        the Senate a report that analyzes the impact of the 
        financial health of the farm economy of the United 
        States under the Kyoto Protocol and Other International 
        Agreements Under the Framework Convention on Climate 
        Change--
                  [(A) with and without market mechanisms 
                (including whether the mechanisms are permits 
                for emissions and whether the permits are 
                issued by allocation, auction, or otherwise);
                  [(B) with and without the participation of 
                developing countries;
                  [(C) with and without carbon sinks; and
                  [(D) with respect to the imposition of 
                traditional command and control measures.
    [(c) Consortia.--
          [(1) In general.--The Secretary may designate not 
        more than 2 carbon cycle and agricultural best 
        practices research consortia.
          [(2) Selection.--The consortia designated by the 
        Secretary shall be selected in a competitive manner by 
        the Cooperative State Research, Education, and 
        Extension Service.
          [(3) Duties.--The consortia shall--
                  [(A) identify, develop, and evaluate 
                agricultural best practices using partnerships 
                composed of Federal, State, or private entities 
                and the Department of Agriculture, including 
                the Agricultural Research Service;
                  [(B) develop necessary computer models to 
                predict and assess the carbon cycle, as well as 
                other priorities requested by the Secretary and 
                the heads of other Federal agencies;
                  [(C) estimate and develop mechanisms to 
                measure carbon levels made available as a 
                result of voluntary Federal conservation 
                programs, private and Federal forests, and 
                other land uses; and
                  [(D) develop outreach programs, in 
                coordination with extension services, to share 
                information on carbon cycle and agricultural 
                best practices that is useful to agricultural 
                producers.
          [(4) Consortia participants.--The participants in the 
        consortia may include--
                  [(A) land-grant colleges and universities;
                  [(B) State geological surveys;
                  [(C) research centers of the National 
                Aeronautics and Space Administration;
                  [(D) other Federal agencies;
                  [(E) representatives of agricultural 
                businesses and organizations; and
                  [(F) representatives of the private sector.
          [(5) Authorization of appropriations.--There are 
        authorized to be appropriated to carry out this 
        subsection $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2000 
        through 2002.
    [(d) Promotion of Agricultural Best Practices.--The 
Secretary shall promote voluntary agricultural best practices 
that take into account soil organic matter dynamics, carbon 
cycle, ecology, and soil organisms that will lead to the more 
effective use of soil resources to--
          [(1) enhance the carbon cycle;
          [(2) improve soil quality;
          [(3) increase the use of renewable resources; and
          [(4) overcome unfavorable physical soil properties.
    [(e) Annual Report.--The Secretary shall submit to the 
Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the 
Senate an annual report that describes programs that are or 
will be conducted by the Secretary, through land-grant colleges 
and universities, to provide to agricultural producers the 
results of research conducted on agricultural best practices, 
including the results of--
          [(1) research;
          [(2) future research plans;
          [(3) consultations with appropriate scientific 
        organizations;
          [(4) proposed extension outreach activities; and
          [(5) findings of scientific peer review under section 
        103(d)(1) of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and 
        Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613(d)(1)).

[SEC. 1492. CARBON CYCLE REMOTE SENSING TECHNOLOGY.

    [(a) Carbon Cycle Remote Sensing Technology Program.--
          [(1) In general.--The Secretary, in cooperation with 
        the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
        Administration, shall develop a carbon cycle remote 
        sensing technology program--
                  [(A) to provide, on a near-continual basis, a 
                real-time and comprehensive view of vegetation 
                conditions; and
                  [(B) to assess and model agricultural carbon 
                sequestration.
          [(2) Use of centers.--The Administrator of the 
        National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall use 
        regional earth science application centers to conduct 
        research under this section.
          [(3) Researched areas.--The areas that shall be the 
        subjectsof research conducted under this section 
include--
                  [(A) the mapping of carbon-sequestering land 
                use and land cover;
                  [(B) the monitoring of changes in land cover 
                and management;
                  [(C) new systems for the remote sensing of 
                soil carbon; and
                  [(D) regional-scale carbon sequestration 
                estimation.
    [(b) Regional Earth Science Application Center.--
          [(1) In general.--The Secretary, in cooperation with 
        the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
        Administration, shall carry out this section through 
        the Regional Earth Science Application Center located 
        at the University of Kansas (referred to in this 
        section as the ``Center''), if the Center enters into a 
        partnership with a land-grant college or university.
          [(2) Duties of center.--The Center shall serve as a 
        research facility and clearinghouse for satellite data, 
        software, research, and related information with 
        respect to remote sensing research conducted under this 
        section.
          [(3) Use of center.--The Secretary, in cooperation 
        with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and 
        Space Administration, shall use the Center for carrying 
        out remote sensing research relating to agricultural 
        best practices.
    [(c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for 
fiscal years 2000 through 2002.

[SEC. 1493. CONSERVATION PREMIUM PAYMENTS.

    [In addition to payments that are made by the Secretary to 
producers under conservation programs, the Secretary may offer 
conservation premium payments to producers that are 
participating in the conservation programs to compensate the 
producers for allowing researchers to scientifically analyze, 
and collect information with respect to, agricultural best 
practices that are carried out by the producers as part of 
conservation projects and activities that are funded, in whole 
or in part, by the Federal Government.

[SEC. 1494. ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL BEST PRACTICES AND NATURAL 
                    RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLANS UNDER CONSERVATION 
                    PROGRAMS.

    [(a) In General.--In addition to assistance that is 
provided by the Secretary to producers under conservation 
programs, the Secretary, on request of the producers, shall 
provide education through extension activities and technical 
and financial assistance to producers that are participating in 
the conservation programs to assist the producers in planning, 
designing, and installing agricultural best practices and 
natural resource management plans established under the 
conservation programs.
    [(b) Information to Developing Nations.--The Secretary 
shall disseminate to developing nations information on 
agricultural best practices and natural resource management 
plans that--
          [(1) provide crucial agricultural benefits for soil 
        and water quality; and
          [(2) increase production.

[SEC. 1495. CARBON CYCLE RESEARCH MONITORING SYSTEM.

    [(a) Establishment.--The Secretary, in conjunction with the 
Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration and the United States Global Change Research 
Program, may establish a nationwide carbon cycle monitoring 
system (referred to in this section as the ``monitoring 
system'') to research the flux of carbon between soil, air, and 
water.
    [(b) Purpose of System.--The monitoring system shall focus 
on locating network monitors on or near agricultural best 
practices that are--
          [(1) undertaken voluntarily;
          [(2) undertaken through a conservation program of the 
        Department of Agriculture;
          [(3) implemented as part of a program or activity of 
        the Department of Agriculture; or
          [(4) identified by the Administrator of the National 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    [(c) Memorandum of Understanding.--The Secretary may 
enterinto a memorandum of understanding with the Administrator of the 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to ensure that research 
goals of programs established by the Federal Government related to 
carbon monitoring are met through the monitoring system.
    [(d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
to be appropriated to carry out this subtitle $10,000,000.]

        Subtitle N--Carbon Cycle and Agricultural Best Practices

SEC. 1490. DEFINITIONS.

    In this subtitle:
          (1) Agricultural best practice.--The term 
        ``agricultural best practice'' means a voluntary 
        practice used by 1 or more agricultural producers to 
        manage a farm or ranch that has a beneficial or minimal 
        impact on the environment, including--
                  (A) crop residue management;
                  (B) soil erosion management;
                  (C) nutrient management;
                  (D) remote sensing;
                  (E) precision agriculture;
                  (F) integrated pest management;
                  (G) animal waste management;
                  (H) cover crop management;
                  (I) water quality and utilization management;
                  (J) grazing and range management;
                  (K) wetland management;
                  (L) buffer strip use; and
                  (M) tree planting.
          (2) Conservation program.--The term ``conservation 
        program'' means a program established under--
                  (A) subtitle D of title XII of the Food 
                Security Act of 1985 (16 U.S.C. 3830 et seq.);
                  (B) section 401 or 402 of the Agricultural 
                Credit Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2201, 2202);
                  (C) section 3 or 8 of the Watershed 
                Protection and Flood Prevention Act (16 U.S.C. 
                1003, 1006a); or
                  (D) any other provision of law that 
                authorizes the Secretary to make payments or 
                provide other assistance to agricultural 
                producers to promote conservation.

SEC. 1491. CARBON CYCLE AND AGRICULTURAL BEST PRACTICES RESEARCH.

    (a) In General.--The Department of Agriculture shall be the 
lead agency with respect to any agricultural soil carbon 
research conducted by the Federal Government.
    (b) Research Services.--
          (1) Agricultural research service.--The Secretary, 
        acting through the Agricultural Research Service, shall 
        collaborate with other Federal agencies to develop data 
        and conduct research addressing soil carbon balance and 
        storage, making special efforts to--
                  (A) determine the effects of management and 
                conservation on soil organic carbon storage in 
                cropland and grazing land;
                  (B) evaluate the long-term impact of tillage 
                and residue management systems on the 
                accumulation of organic carbon;
                  (C) study the transfer of organic carbon to 
                soil; and
                  (D) study carbon storage of commodities.
          (2) Natural resources conservation service.--
                  (A) Research missions.--The research missions 
                of the Secretary, acting through the Natural 
                Resources Conservation Service, include--
                          (i) the development of a soil carbon 
                        database to--
                                  (I) provide online access to 
                                information about soil carbon 
                                potential in a format that 
                                facilitates the use of the 
                                database in making land 
                                management decisions; and
                                  (II) allow additional and 
                                more refined data to be linked 
                                to similar databases containing 
                                information on forests and 
                                rangeland;
                          (ii) the conversion to an electronic 
                        format and linkage to the national soil 
                        database described in clause (i) of 
                        county-level soil surveys and State-
                        level soil maps;
                          (iii) updating of State-level soil 
                        maps;
                          (iv) the linkage, for information 
                        purposes only, of soil information to 
                        other soil and land use databases; and
                          (v) the completion of evaluations, 
                        such as field validation and 
                        calibration, of modeling, remote 
                        sensing, and statistical inventory 
                        approaches to carbon stock assessments 
                        related to land management practices 
                        and agronomic systems at the field, 
                        regional, and national levels.
                  (B) Unit of information.--The Secretary, 
                acting through the Natural Resources 
                Conservation Service, shall disseminate a 
                national basic unit of information for an 
                assessment of the carbon storage potential of 
                soils in the United States.
          (3) Economic research service report.--Not later than 
        1 year after the date of enactment of this section, the 
        Secretary, acting through the Economic Research 
        Service, shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture 
        of the House of Representatives and the Committee on 
        Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a 
        report that analyzes the impact of the financial health 
        of the farm economy of the United States under the 
        Kyoto Protocol and other international agreements under 
        the Framework Convention on Climate Change--
                  (A) with and without market mechanisms 
                (including whether the mechanisms are permits 
                for emissions and whether the permits are 
                issued by allocation, auction, or otherwise);
                  (B) with and without the participation of 
                developing countries;
                  (C) with and without carbon sinks; and
                  (D) with respect to the imposition of 
                traditional command and control measures.
          (4) Cooperative state research, education, and 
        extension service.--
                  (A) In general.--The Cooperative State 
                Research, Education, and Extension Service 
                shall, through land-grant colleges and 
                universities, develop a comprehensive national 
                carbon cycle and agricultural best practices 
                research agenda.
                  (B) Research missions.--The research missions 
                of the Secretary, acting through the 
                Cooperative State Research, Education, and 
                Extension Service, include the provision, 
                through land-grant colleges and universities, 
                of research opportunities to improve the 
                scientific basis for using land management 
                practices to increase soil carbon sequestration 
                needed for producers, including research 
                concerning innovative methods of using 
                biotechnology and nanotechnology.
                  (C) Activities.--The Secretary, acting 
                through the Cooperative State Research, 
                Education, and Extension Service, shall--
                          (i) identify, develop, and evaluate 
                        agricultural best practices using 
                        partnerships comprised of Federal, 
                        State, or private entities and the 
                        Department of Agriculture, including 
                        the Agricultural Research Service;
                          (ii) develop necessary computer 
                        models to predict and assess the carbon 
                        cycle, as well as other priorities 
                        requested by the Secretary and the 
                        heads of other Federal agencies;
                          (iii) estimate and develop mechanisms 
                        to measure changes in carbon levels 
                        resulting from voluntary Federal 
                        conservation programs, private and 
                        Federal forests, and other land uses;
                          (iv) develop outreach programs, in 
                        coordination with cooperative extension 
                        services, to share information on 
                        carbon cycles and agricultural best 
                        practices that is useful to 
                        agricultural producers; and
                          (v) research new technologies that 
                        may increase carbon cycle 
                        effectiveness, such as biotechnology 
                        and nanotechnology.
    (c) Consortia.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary may designate not more 
        than 2 carbon cycle and agricultural best practices 
        research consortia to carry out this section.
          (2) Selection.--The consortia designated by the 
        Secretary shall be selected in a competitive manner by 
        the Cooperative State Research, Education, and 
        Extension Service.
          (3) Consortia participants.--The participants in the 
        consortia may include--
                  (A) land-grant colleges and universities;
                  (B) State geological surveys;
                  (C) research centers of the National 
                Aeronautics and Space Administration;
                  (D) other Federal agencies;
                  (E) representatives of agricultural 
                businesses and organizations; and
                  (F) representatives of the private sector.
          (4) Authorization of appropriations.--There are 
        authorized to be appropriated to carry out this 
        subsection $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2001 
        through 2005.
    (d) Promotion of Agricultural Best Practices.--The 
Secretary shall promote voluntary agricultural best practices 
that take into account soil organic matter dynamics, carbon 
cycle, ecology, and soil organisms that will lead to the more 
effective use of soil resources to--
          (1) enhance the carbon cycle;
          (2) improve soil quality;
          (3) increase the use of renewable resources; and
          (4) overcome unfavorable physical soil properties.
    (e) Annual Report.--The Secretary shall submit to the 
Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the 
Senate an annual report that describes programs that are or 
will be conducted by the Secretary, through land-grant colleges 
and universities, to provide to agricultural producers the 
results of research conducted on agricultural best practices, 
including the results of--
          (1) research;
          (2) future research plans;
          (3) consultations with appropriate scientific 
        organizations;
          (4) proposed extension outreach activities; and
          (5) findings of scientific peer review under section 
        103(d)(1) of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and 
        Education Reform Act of 1998 (7 U.S.C. 7613(d)(1)).

SEC. 1492. CARBON CYCLE REMOTE SENSING TECHNOLOGY.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary, in cooperation with the 
Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space 
Administration, shall develop a carbon cycle remote sensing 
technology program--
          (1) to provide, on a near-continual basis, a real-
        time and comprehensive view of vegetation conditions; 
        and
          (2) to assess and model agricultural carbon 
        sequestration.
    (b) Use of Centers.--The Administrator of the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration shall use regional earth 
science application centers to conduct research under this 
section.
    (c) Researched Areas.--The areas that shall be the subjects 
of research conducted under this section include--
          (1) the mapping of carbon-sequestering land use and 
        land cover;
          (2) the monitoring of changes in land cover and 
        management;
          (3) new systems for the remote sensing of soil 
        carbon; and
          (4) regional-scale carbon sequestration estimation.
    (d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for 
each of fiscal years 2001 through 2005.

SEC. 1493. RESEARCH INCENTIVE PAYMENTS.

    (a) In General.--In addition to payments that are made by 
the Secretary to producers under conservation programs, the 
Secretary may offer research incentive payments to producers 
that are participating in the conservation programs to 
compensate the producers for allowing researchers to 
scientifically analyze, and collect information with respect 
to, agricultural best practices that are carried out by the 
producers as part of conservation projects and activities that 
are funded, in whole or in part, by the Federal Government.
    (b) Confidentiality.--
          (1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), 
        any information submitted to the Secretary under 
        subsection (a) shall be confidential and may be 
        disclosed only if required under court order.
          (2) Release of information in aggregate form.--The 
        Secretary may release or make public information 
        described in paragraph (1) in an aggregate or summary 
        form that does not directly disclose the identity, 
        business transactions, or trade secrets of any person 
        that submits the information.

SEC. 1494. ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURAL BEST PRACTICES AND NATURAL 
                    RESOURCE MANAGEMENT PLANS UNDER CONSERVATION 
                    PROGRAMS.

    (a) In General.--In addition to assistance that is provided 
by the Secretary to producers under conservation programs, the 
Secretary, on request of the producers, shall provide education 
through extension activities and technical assistance to 
producers that are participating in the conservation programs 
to assist the producers in planning, designing, and installing 
agricultural best practices and natural resource management 
plans established under the conservation programs.
    (b) Information to Developing Nations.--The Secretary shall 
disseminate to developing nations information on agricultural 
best practices and natural resource management plans that--
          (1) provide crucial agricultural benefits for soil 
        and water quality; and
          (2) increase production.

SEC. 1495. TRACE GAS NETWORK SYSTEM.

    (a) Establishment.--The Secretary, in conjunction with the 
Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, may establish a nationwide trace gas network 
system to research the flux of carbon between soil, air, and 
water.
    (b) Purpose of System.--The trace gas network system shall 
focus on locating appropriate research equipment on or near 
agricultural best practices that are--
          (1) undertaken voluntarily;
          (2) undertaken through a conservation program of the 
        Department of Agriculture;
          (3) implemented as part of a program or activity of 
        the Department of Agriculture; or
          (4) identified by the Administrator of the National 
        Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    (c) Memorandum of Understanding.--The Secretary may enter 
into a memorandum of understanding with the Administrator of 
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to ensure 
that research goals of programs established by the Federal 
Government relating to trace gas research are met through the 
trace gas network system.
    (d) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
to be appropriated to carry out this section $10,000,000.

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