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S.B. 73 Enrolled

             1     

AGRICULTURAL ENVIRONMENTAL AMENDMENTS

             2     
2014 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Ralph Okerlund

             5     
House Sponsor: John G. Mathis

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship
             10      Program.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    defines terms;
             14          .    amends legislative findings;
             15          .    amends definitions;
             16          .    creates an advisory board for making loans from the Agriculture Resource
             17      Development Fund;
             18          .    states that the Water Quality Board may not require a holder of an Agriculture
             19      Certificate of Environmental Stewardship to implement additional or different
             20      practices during the life of the certification, except in certain conditions;
             21          .    states that the Division of Water Quality shall consider an agriculture operation's
             22      compliance with a certification under an approved agriculture environmental
             23      stewardship program as a mitigating factor for any penalty purposes; and
             24          .     makes technical changes.
             25      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             26          None
             27      Other Special Clauses:
             28          None
             29      Utah Code Sections Affected:


             30      AMENDS:
             31           4-18-102 , as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 227
             32           4-18-103 , as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 227
             33           4-18-105 , as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 227
             34           4-18-106 , as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 227
             35           4-18-107 , as enacted by Laws of Utah 2013, Chapter 227
             36      ENACTS:
             37           19-5-105.6 , Utah Code Annotated 1953
             38      RENUMBERS AND AMENDS:
             39           4-18-108 , (Renumbered from 4-18-6.5, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2008, Chapter
             40      382)
             41     
             42      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             43          Section 1. Section 4-18-102 is amended to read:
             44           4-18-102. Purpose declaration.
             45          (1) The Legislature finds and declares that:
             46          (a) the soil and water resources of this state constitute one of its basic assets; and [that]
             47          (b) the preservation of these resources requires planning and programs to ensure:
             48          (i) the development and utilization of these resources; and [to protect them]
             49          (ii) their protection from the adverse effects of wind and water erosion, sediment, and
             50      sediment related pollutants.
             51          (2) The Legislature finds that local production of food is essential for:
             52          (a) the security of the state's food supply; and
             53          (b) the self-sufficiency of the state's citizens.
             54          (3) The Legislature finds that sustainable agriculture is critical to:
             55          (a) the success of rural communities;
             56          (b) the historical culture of the state;
             57          (c) maintaining healthy farmland;


             58          (d) maintaining high water quality;
             59          (e) maintaining abundant wildlife; [and]
             60          (f) high-quality recreation for citizens of the state[.]; and
             61          (g) helping to stabilize the state economy.
             62          (4) The Legislature finds that livestock grazing on public lands is important for the
             63      proper management, maintenance, and health of public lands in the state.
             64          (5) The Legislature encourages each agricultural producer in the state to operate in a
             65      reasonable and responsible manner to maintain the integrity of land, soil, water, and air.
             66          (6) To encourage each agricultural producer in this state to operate in a reasonable and
             67      responsible manner to maintain the integrity of the state's resources, the state shall administer
             68      the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program, created
             69      in Section 4-18-107 .
             70          Section 2. Section 4-18-103 is amended to read:
             71           4-18-103. Definitions.
             72          As used in this chapter:
             73          (1) (a) "Agricultural discharge" means the release of agriculture water from the
             74      property of a farm, ranch, or feedlot that:
             75          (i) pollutes a surface body of water, including a stream, lake, pond, marshland,
             76      watercourse, waterway, river, ditch, or other water conveyance system;
             77          (ii) pollutes ground water; or
             78          (iii) constitutes a significant nuisance to urban land.
             79          (b) "Agricultural discharge" does not include:
             80          (i) runoff from a farm, ranch, or feedlot, or the return flow of water from an irrigated
             81      field onto land that is not part of a body of water; or
             82          (ii) a release of water from a farm, ranch, or feedlot into a normally dry water
             83      conveyance leading to an active body of water, if the release does not reach the water of a lake,
             84      pond, stream, marshland, river, or other active body of water.
             85          (2) "Agricultural operation" means a farm, ranch, or animal feeding operation.


             86          (3) "Agriculture water" means:
             87          (a) water used by a farm, ranch, or feedlot for the production of food, fiber, or fuel;
             88          (b) the return flow of water from irrigated agriculture; or
             89          (c) agricultural storm water runoff.
             90          (4) "Alternate" means a substitute for a district supervisor if the district supervisor
             91      cannot attend a meeting.
             92          (5) (a) "Animal feeding operation" means a facility where animals, other than aquatic
             93      animals, are stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total of 45 days or more in any
             94      12-month period.
             95          (b) "Animal feeding operation" does not include an operation where animals are in
             96      areas such as pastures or rangeland that sustain crops or forage growth during the [entire time
             97      the animals are present] normal growing season.
             98          (6) "Best management practices" means practices, including management policies and
             99      the use of technology, used by each sector of agriculture in the production of food and fiber
             100      that are commonly accepted practices, or that are at least as effective as commonly accepted
             101      practices, and that:
             102          (a) protect the environment;
             103          (b) protect human health;
             104          (c) ensure the humane treatment of animals; and
             105          (d) promote the financial viability of agricultural production.
             106          (7) "Certified agricultural operation" means an agricultural operation that is certified
             107      under the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program
             108      in accordance with Section 4-18-107 .
             109          (8) "Certified conservation planner" means a planner of a state conservation district, or
             110      other qualified planner, that is approved by the commission to certify an agricultural operation
             111      under the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program,
             112      created in Section 4-18-107 .
             113          (9) "Commission" means the Conservation Commission created in Section 4-18-104 .


             114          (10) "Comprehensive nutrient management plan" or "nutrient management plan"
             115      means a plan to properly store, handle, and spread manure and other agricultural byproducts to:
             116          (a) protect the environment; and
             117          (b) provide nutrients for the production of crops.
             118          (11) "Coordinated resource management plan" means a plan of action created at a local
             119      level with broad participation of land owners, natural resource agencies, and interested
             120      stakeholders to protect or enhance the environment, human health, humane treatment of
             121      animals, and financial viability in the community.
             122          [(11)] (12) "District" or "conservation district" has the same meaning as "conservation
             123      district" as defined in Section 17D-3-102 .
             124          [(12)] (13) "Pollution" means a harmful human-made or human-induced alteration to
             125      the water of the state, including an alteration to the chemical, physical, biological, or
             126      radiological integrity of water that harms the water of the state.
             127          [(13)] (14) "State technical standards" means a collection of best management practices
             128      that will protect the environment in a reasonable and economical manner for each sector of
             129      agriculture as required by this chapter.
             130          [(14)] (15) "Sustainable agriculture" means agriculture production and practices that
             131      promote:
             132          (a) the environmental responsibility of owners and operators of farms, ranches, and
             133      feedlots; and
             134          (b) the profitability of owners and operators of farms, ranches, and feedlots.
             135          Section 3. Section 4-18-105 is amended to read:
             136           4-18-105. Conservation Commission -- Functions and duties.
             137          (1) The commission shall:
             138          (a) facilitate the development and implementation of the strategies and programs
             139      necessary to:
             140          (i) protect, conserve, utilize, and develop the soil, air, and water resources of the state;
             141      and


             142          (ii) promote the protection, integrity, and restoration of land for agricultural and other
             143      beneficial purposes;
             144          (b) disseminate information regarding districts' activities and programs;
             145          (c) supervise the formation, reorganization, or dissolution of districts according to the
             146      requirements of Title 17D, Chapter 3, Conservation District Act;
             147          (d) prescribe uniform accounting and recordkeeping procedures for districts and
             148      require each district to submit annually an audit of its funds to the commission;
             149          (e) approve and make loans for agricultural purposes, through the advisory board
             150      described in Section 4-18-106 , from the Agriculture Resource Development Fund, for:
             151          (i) rangeland improvement and management projects;
             152          (ii) watershed protection and flood prevention projects;
             153          (iii) agricultural cropland soil and water conservation projects; [and]
             154          (iv) programs designed to promote energy efficient farming practices;
             155          (v) development and implementation of coordinated resource management plans, as
             156      defined in Section 4-18-103 , with conservation districts, as defined in Section 17D-3-102 ; and
             157          (vi) programs or improvements for agriculture product storage or protections of a crop
             158      or animal resource;
             159          (f) administer federal or state funds, including loan funds under this chapter, in
             160      accordance with applicable federal or state guidelines and make loans or grants from those
             161      funds to land occupiers for:
             162          (i) the conservation of soil or water resources;
             163          (ii) maintenance of rangeland improvement projects; and
             164          (iii) the control or eradication of noxious weeds and invasive plant species:
             165          (A) in cooperation and coordination with local weed boards; and
             166          (B) in accordance with Section 4-2-8.7 ;
             167          (g) seek to coordinate soil and water protection, conservation, and development
             168      activities and programs of state agencies, local governmental units, other states, special interest
             169      groups, and federal agencies;


             170          (h) plan watershed and flood control projects in cooperation with appropriate local,
             171      state, and federal authorities, and coordinate flood control projects in the state;
             172          (i) assist other state agencies with conservation standards for agriculture when
             173      requested; and
             174          (j) when assigned by the governor, when required by contract with the Department of
             175      Environmental Quality, or when required by contract with the United States Environmental
             176      Protection Agency:
             177          (i) develop programs for the prevention, control, or abatement of new or existing
             178      pollution to the soil, water, or air of the state;
             179          (ii) advise, consult, and cooperate with affected parties to further the purpose of this
             180      chapter;
             181          (iii) conduct studies, investigations, research, and demonstrations relating to
             182      agricultural pollution issues;
             183          (iv) give reasonable consideration in the exercise of its powers and duties to the
             184      economic impact on sustainable agriculture;
             185          (v) meet the requirements of federal law related to water and air pollution in the
             186      exercise of its powers and duties; and
             187          (vi) establish administrative penalties relating to agricultural discharges as defined in
             188      Section 4-18-103 that are proportional to the seriousness of the resulting environmental harm.
             189          (2) The commission may:
             190          (a) employ, with the approval of the department, an administrator and necessary
             191      technical experts and employees;
             192          (b) execute contracts or other instruments necessary to exercise its powers;
             193          (c) take necessary action to promote and enforce the purpose and findings of Section
             194      4-18-102 ;
             195          (d) sue and be sued; and
             196          (e) adopt rules, in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative
             197      Rulemaking Act, necessary to carry out the powers and duties described in Subsection (1) and


             198      Subsections (2)(b) and (c).
             199          Section 4. Section 4-18-106 is amended to read:
             200           4-18-106. Agriculture Resource Development Fund -- Contents -- Use of fund
             201      money -- Authority board.
             202          (1) There is created a revolving loan fund known as the Agriculture Resource
             203      Development Fund.
             204          (2) The Agriculture Resource Development Fund shall consist of:
             205          (a) money appropriated to it by the Legislature;
             206          (b) sales and use tax receipts transferred to the fund in accordance with Section
             207      59-12-103 ;
             208          (c) money received for the repayment of loans made from the fund;
             209          (d) money made available to the state for agriculture resource development from any
             210      source; and
             211          (e) interest earned on the fund.
             212          (3) The commission shall make loans from the Agriculture Resource Development
             213      Fund as provided by [Section 4-18-105 .] Subsections 4-18-105 (1)(e)(i) through (v).
             214          (4) The commission may appoint an advisory board that shall:
             215          (a) oversee the award process for loans, as described in this section;
             216          (b) make recommendations to the commission regarding loans; and
             217          (c) recommend the policies and procedures for the Agriculture Resource Development
             218      Fund, consistent with statute.
             219          Section 5. Section 4-18-107 is amended to read:
             220           4-18-107. Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship Program.
             221          (1) There is created the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship
             222      [Certification] Program.
             223          (2) The commission, with the assistance of the department and with the advice of the
             224      Water Quality Board, created in Section 19-1-106 , shall make rules in accordance with Title
             225      63G, Chapter 3, Utah Administrative Rulemaking Act that establish:


             226          (a) (i) best management practices;
             227          (ii) state technical standards; and
             228          (iii) guidelines for nutrient management plans;
             229          (b) requirements for qualification under the Utah Agriculture Certificate of
             230      Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program that:
             231          (i) are consistent with sustainable agriculture;
             232          (ii) help prevent harm to the environment, including prevention of an agricultural
             233      discharge; and
             234          (iii) encourage agricultural operations in the state to follow:
             235          (A) best management practices; and
             236          (B) nutrient management plans that meet the state technical standards appropriate for
             237      each type of agricultural operation;
             238          (c) the procedure for qualification under the Utah Agriculture Certificate of
             239      Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program;
             240          (d) the requirements and certification process for an individual to become a certified
             241      conservation planner; and
             242          (e) standards and procedures for administering the Utah Agriculture Certificate of
             243      Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program, including:
             244          (i) renewal of a certification under Subsection (4)(b);
             245          (ii) investigation and revocation of a certification under Subsection (6); and
             246          (iii) revocation of a certification under Subsection (7)(b).
             247          (3) An owner or operator of an agricultural operation may apply to certify the
             248      agricultural operation under the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship
             249      [Certification] Program in accordance with this section.
             250          (4) (a) Except as provided in Subsection (6) or (7), a certified agricultural operation
             251      remains certified for a period of five years after the day on which the agricultural operation
             252      becomes certified.
             253          (b) A certified agricultural operation may, in accordance with commission rule, renew


             254      the certification for an additional five years to keep the certification for a total period of 10
             255      years after the day on which the agricultural operation becomes certified.
             256          (5) Subject to review by the commissioner or the commissioner's designee, a certified
             257      conservation planner shall certify each qualifying agricultural operation that applies to the Utah
             258      Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program.
             259          (6) (a) Upon request of the Department of Environmental Quality or upon receipt by
             260      the department of a citizen environmental complaint, the department shall, with the assistance
             261      of certified conservation planners as necessary, investigate a certified agricultural operation to
             262      determine whether the agricultural operation has committed a significant violation of the
             263      requirements of the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship [Certification]
             264      Program.
             265          (b) If, after completing an investigation described in Subsection (6)(a), the department
             266      determines that a certified agricultural operation has committed a significant violation of the
             267      requirements for the Utah Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship [Certification]
             268      Program, the department shall report the violation to the commission.
             269          (c) Upon receipt of a report described in Subsection (6)(b), the commission shall
             270      review the report and:
             271          (i) revoke the agricultural operation's certification; or
             272          (ii) set terms and conditions for the agricultural operation to maintain its certification.
             273          (7) (a) If, for a certification renewal under Subsection (4)(b), or an investigation under
             274      Subsection (6)(a), the department requests access to a certified agricultural operation, the
             275      certified agricultural operation shall, at a reasonable time, allow access for the department to:
             276          (i) inspect the agricultural operation; or
             277          (ii) review the records of the agricultural operation.
             278          (b) If a certified agricultural operation denies the department access as described in
             279      Subsection (7)(a), the commission may revoke the agricultural operation's certification.
             280          (8) If the commission changes a requirement of the Utah Agriculture Certificate of
             281      Environmental Stewardship [Certification] Program after an agricultural operation is certified


             282      in accordance with former requirements, during the certification and renewal periods described
             283      in Subsections (4)(a) and (b) the agricultural operation may choose whether to abide by a new
             284      requirement, but the agricultural operation is not subject to the new requirement until the
             285      agricultural operation reapplies for certification.
             286          (9) Nothing in this section exempts an agricultural discharge made by a certified
             287      agricultural operation from the provisions of Subsection 19-5-105.5 (3)(b).
             288          (10) (a) Except as provided in Subsections 19-5-105.6 (2) and (3), a certified agriculture
             289      operation may not be required to implement additional projects or best management practices
             290      to address nonpoint source discharges.
             291          (b) The Division of Water Quality shall consider an agriculture operation's compliance
             292      with certification under an approved agriculture environmental stewardship program a
             293      mitigating factor for penalty purposes, as provided in Section 19-5-105.6 .
             294          Section 6. Section 4-18-108 , which is renumbered from Section 4-18-6.5 is
             295      renumbered and amended to read:
             296           [4-18-6.5].     4-18-108. Agriculture Environment Account -- Contents -- Use of
             297      fund money.
             298          (1) (a) [The] Subject to appropriation, the commission, as described in Subsection (4),
             299      may make [grants to owners or operators of animal feeding operations] a grant to an owner or
             300      operator of a farm or ranch to pay for costs of plans or projects to improve manure
             301      management, [or] control surface water runoff or other environmental issues on the farm or
             302      ranch operation, including costs of preparing or implementing [comprehensive] a nutrient
             303      management [plans] plan.
             304          (b) The commission shall make [the grants] a grant described in Subsection (1)(a) from
             305      funds appropriated by the Legislature for that purpose.
             306          (2) (a) In awarding [grants] a grant, the commission shall consider the following
             307      criteria:
             308          (i) the ability of the grantee to pay for costs of plans or projects to improve manure
             309      management or control surface water runoff;


             310          (ii) the availability of:
             311          (A) matching funds provided by the grantee or another source; or
             312          (B) material, labor, or other items of value provided in lieu of money by the grantee or
             313      another source; and
             314          (iii) the benefits that accrue to the general public by the awarding of a grant.
             315          (b) The commission may establish by rule additional criteria for the awarding of
             316      [grants] a grant.
             317          (3) The commission shall make rules in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3, Utah
             318      Administrative Rulemaking Act, to implement this section.
             319          (4) The commission:
             320          (a) shall be responsible for awarding a grant or loan for water quality or other
             321      environmental issues; and
             322          (b) may appoint an advisory board to:
             323          (i) assist with the award process; and
             324          (ii) make recommendations to the commission regarding awards.
             325          Section 7. Section 19-5-105.6 is enacted to read:
             326          19-5-105.6. Agriculture Certificate of Environmental Stewardship.
             327          (1) As used in this section:
             328          (a) "Agriculture operation" means a farm, ranch, or animal feeding operation.
             329          (b) "Approved agriculture environmental stewardship program" means a program:
             330          (i) created under Section 4-18-107 ;
             331          (ii) that is approved by the board; and
             332          (iii) that includes practices and other requirements sufficient to prevent violations of
             333      the Utah Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, statute, or rules.
             334          (c) "Certified agriculture operation" means an agriculture operation that has current
             335      certification under an approved agriculture certificate of environmental stewardship program
             336      and that is in compliance with the requirements of that certification.
             337          (2) (a) The division may not require a certified agriculture operation to implement


             338      additional or different practices to control nonpoint source discharges for the purpose of
             339      meeting total maximum daily load requirements.
             340          (b) If the division implements additional or different best management practices to
             341      control nonpoint source discharges, those best management practices shall be effective on a
             342      certified agriculture operation upon the expiration of the operation's certificate, as described in
             343      Subsection 4-18-107 (4).
             344          (3) Notwithstanding Subsection (2), a certified agriculture operation may be required to
             345      undertake projects or additional best management practices for the purpose of meeting the total
             346      maximum daily load requirements under the following conditions:
             347          (a) the certified agriculture operation has nonpoint source discharges to surface waters
             348      in an impaired watershed that is covered by an approved total maximum daily load;
             349          (b) the board, in consultation with the Conservation Commission, has determined that
             350      the best management practice or project is necessary to restore water quality in the affected
             351      watershed; and
             352          (c) the project or best management practice is funded:
             353          (i) at least 75% by the state, federal government sources, or private sources other than
             354      the certified agriculture operation; or
             355          (ii) at least 90% by the state, federal government sources, or private sources other than
             356      the certified agriculture operation if the director, commissioner of the Department of
             357      Agriculture and Food, and director of the Utah State University Extension service, or their
             358      designees, determine by majority vote that the requirements of Subsection (3)(b) pose a serious
             359      financial hardship to the certified agriculture operation.
             360          (4) The division shall consider an agriculture operation's compliance with certification
             361      under an approved agriculture environmental stewardship program as a mitigating factor for
             362      any penalty purposes.


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