Most USDA programs require you to comply with the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended, which link program eligibility to farming practices designed to protect wetlands and to protect highly erodible land from excessive soil erosion. These provisions are described in form AD-1026, which you complete and sign when you apply for assistance from USDA.
Reduce soil loss due to wind and water erosion
Protect the Nation’s long-term capability to produce food and fiber
Reduce sedimentation and improve water quality
Assist in preserving the functions and values of the Nation’s wetlands
If you don’t comply with these requirements for the term of your USDA
contract, you risk losing your program payments.
Before making any changes on your land, you must call the Farm Service
Agency (FSA). They will ask you to file an updated form AD-1026 and review
your planned work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Do you have Highly Erodible Land?
Fields designated as Highly Erodible Land (HEL) must be protected from excessive soil erosion when used to produce agricultural commodities by applying an approved conservation system. An agricultural commodity is defined as any annually tilled crop, such as corn.
NRCS will make an HEL determination when we receive your AD-1026 form from FSA. A field will be considered highly erodible if either one-third or more of the field is highly erodible, or if the highly erodible land in the field totals 50 acres or more.
Do you have wetlands?
All program participants must certify that crops have not been planted on land that was converted from a wetland to cropland or that a wetland was not converted and production of a crop is now possible.
NRCS will make a wetlands determination when we receive your AD-1026 form from FSA. Wetlands are lands with all three of the following characteristics:
predominance of hydric soil
supportive of wetland plants
possessing wetland hydrology