Thune’s Improved Soil Moisture and Precipitation Monitoring Act (introduced on May 23, 2018), which would provide tools and direction to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help improve the accuracy of the U.S. Drought Monitor and require the coordination of USDA agencies that use precipitation data to determine livestock grazing loss assistance and stocking rates.
Provisions of S. 909, Thune’s Conservation Program Improvement Act (introduced on April 10, 2017), which would eliminate payment limitations for rural water districts or associations that use land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program for wellhead protection areas.
Additional provisions of S. 909, which would allow land enrolled in any easement program to be modified, at the owner’s expense, for water management, general maintenance, vegetative cover control, or any other purpose jointly approved by a state’s department of natural resources (or an equivalent state agency) and the State Technical Committee. Maintenance of USDA easement lands would have to provide equal or greater conservation and wildlife benefit.
Thune has served on the Agriculture Committee in both the House and Senate and is currently the only member of the South Dakota congressional delegation to serve on the committee. Thune has written three farm bills during his time in Congress, and the 2018 farm bill is his fourth. Agriculture is South Dakota’s top industry, with more than 43 million acres of agricultural land throughout the state.