To participate in most United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs, agricultural producers agree to comply with the wetland conservation provisions, which means producers will not farm converted wetlands or convert wetlands to enable or enhance agricultural production.
On December 23, 1985 Congress enacted the Food Security Act which linked United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program eligibility to certain conditions. These conditions, known as the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions, were enacted to:
- 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; and
- Assist in preserving the values, acreage, and functions of the Nation's wetlands.
In order to maintain eligibility for most USDA programs, producers must comply with the conservation provisions, agreeing they will not:
- Produce an agricultural commodity on highly erodible land without an adequate conservation system;
- Plant an agricultural commodity on a converted wetland;
- Convert a wetland to make possible the production of an agricultural commodity.