On November 15th, U.S. Congressman David G. Valadao (R-Kings County) joined with Teresa Leger Fernández (D-New Mexico) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) to introduce the Support Water-Efficient Strategies and Technologies (WEST) Act (H.R. 5764), which would support agriculture practices more commonly used in Western climates.  

The WEST Act would support water-conserving Environmental Quality Incentives Programs (EQIP) practices as well as support perennial production systems and soil health – both of which help retain and conserve water. Specifically, the bill would:  

  • Allow the USDA Secretary to increase cost shares to 85 percent for EQIP practices that are water-conserving or drought resilient.

  • Make perennial productions systems eligible for supplemental payments within the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).

  • Strengthen the soil health program by allowing the Secretary to conduct outreach on the program and offer payments for soil testing.