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.