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Several of John Thune's provisions were added to a farm bill Wednesday before it passed the Senate Ag Committee, according to a news release from the office of the Republican U.S. senator from South Dakota.

The newly inserted provisions provisions include:

• The Improved Soil Moisture and Precipitation Monitoring Act, which would provide tools and direction to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help improve the accuracy of the U.S. Drought Monitor and require the coordination among USDA agencies that use precipitation data to determine livestock grazing loss assistance and stocking rates.

• Parts of the Conservation Program Improvement Act, which would eliminate payment limitations for rural water districts or associations that use land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program for wellhead protection areas.

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• Additional provisions of the Conservation Program Improvement Act that 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, while requiring that maintenance of USDA easement lands would have to provide equal or greater conservation and wildlife benefit.

Some other Thune provisions were in the bill when it was introduced June 8. The bill passed the Senate Ag Committee 20-1 to advance to the full Senate.

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