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Conservation Compliance

Conservation Compliance

 

 

 

 

 

Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions aim to reduce soil loss on erosion-prone lands and to protect wetlands for the multiple benefits they provide. HELC and WC provisions apply to all land that is considered highly erodible or a wetland, and that is owned or farmed by persons voluntarily participating in USDA programs, unless USDA determines an exemption applies.

Producers and any affiliated individuals or entities who participate in most programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) are required to comply with these provisions. Non-compliance may affect the following types of USDA program benefits:

  • FSA loans and disaster assistance payments
  • NRCS and FSA conservation program benefits
  • Federal crop insurance premium subsidies

Comment Period Extended: State Offsite Methods (SOSM) Notice In Federal Register

NRCS published a Notice for Public Comment in the Federal Register, on the proposed revisions to State Offsite Methods (SOSM) in completing wetland determinations, for the following states: Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The comment period has been extended to February 20. Read and comment the proposed revisions on  Regulations.gov.

Compliance with HELC and WC Provisions

To comply with the HELC and WC provisions, producers must fill out and sign form AD-1026 certifying they will not:

  • Plant or produce an agricultural commodity on highly erodible land without following an NRCS approved conservation plan or system;
  • Plant or produce an agricultural commodity on a converted wetland; or
  • Convert a wetland which makes the production of an agricultural commodity possible.

In addition, producers planning to conduct activities that may affect their HEL or WC compliance, for example removing fence rows, conducting drainage activities, or combining fields, must notify FSA by filing form AD-1026. FSA will notify NRCS, and NRCS will then provide highly erodible land or wetland technical evaluations and issue determinations if needed.