2021 Session

Budget Amendments - HB1800 (Member Request)

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Chief Patron: Gooditis
Agricultural Land Retirement Work Group

Item 377 #3h

Item 377 #3h

First Year - FY2021 Second Year - FY2022
Natural Resources
Department of Environmental Quality FY2021 $0 FY2022 $10,000 GF

Page 455, line 31, strike "$52,900,649" and insert "$52,910,649".

Page 457, after line 41, insert:

"M. In consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Forestry, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) shall establish a work group to review the practice of retiring agricultural land for the generation of nutrient credits and determine its impact on agricultural sustainability, farmland retention, farmland preservation, and functions of the nutrient credit exchange in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed and its sub-watersheds. If it is determined that there is impact on farmland retention/availability, the report should include recommendations regarding how the nutrient credit trading regulations and/or underlying statutory authority should be changed to help reduce the loss of prime farmland. If the land for nutrient credits is converted to forestland, the workgroup should identify what protections are in the nutrient credit trading regulations to ensure the forestland is managed under a forestry management plan and/or noxious weed or invasive species are controlled. The review shall be completed and provided to the Chairs of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources and the Virginia delegation of the Chesapeake Bay Commission by December 1, 2021. The work group shall include representatives of the Virginia Agribusiness Council, Virginia Farm Bureau, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, Virginia Cooperative Extension, the Virginia Department of Transportation, Home Builders Association of Virginia, Virginia Association for Commercial Real Estate, representatives from local soil and water districts, representatives of local governments, local economic development officials, and other stakeholders deemed appropriate by the DEQ."


(This amendment directs the Department of Environmental Quality to establish a workgroup to review the retirement of agricultural land for the generation of nutrient credits, and provides $10,000 the second year for the potential costs of operating the work group.)