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News Release

USDA to Host Listening Sessions on Wetland Compliance

Julie MacSwain

St. Paul, Minn., July 9, 2014 – Don Baloun, Minnesota State Conservationist of the  Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that Listening Sessions have been scheduled seeking comments on proposed changes to the offsite methods used in making wetland determinations and new wetland mitigation banking alternatives related to implementation of the USDA wetland compliance provisions.  The USDA wetland compliance provisions were originally enacted in the 1985 Farm Bill and through the 2014 Agricultural Act these provisions have been re-linked with the premium subsidy paid under the Federal crop insurance program.

The sessions will provide an opportunity for farmers and the public to provide comments on technical changes being proposed to the agency’s use of offsite wetland determination procedures.  NRCS is also soliciting input on implementation strategies for the wetland mitigation banking provision provided in the Agricultural Act of 2014. 

Listening sessions have been scheduled for:

  • Ankeny, Iowa on July 28
  • Albert Lea, Minnesota on July 29
  • Aberdeen, South Dakota on July 30
  • Fargo, North Dakota  on July 31

The Listening session in Albert Lea will be held at the Marion Ross Performing Arts Center located at 174 N Broadway Avenue.  The session will begin at 10:00 a.m. and is expected to last until 12:00 p.m.

The sessions target public participation in the North Central Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.  This area which is also known as the Prairie Pothole Region contains numerous small seasonal wetlands which provide important breeding and nesting habitat for more than 60 percent of the nation's migratory waterfowl.  Minnesota NRCS State Conservationist Don Baloun stated that, "Our goal is to help landowners understand and meet their wetland compliance responsibilities which are a condition for participation in USDA programs, including Crop Insurance. NRCS staffs provide farmers the technical assistance needed to manage their working lands in a way that makes agricultural production compatible with the wetland conservation requirements for participation in USDA funded programs.”

For more information on these opportunities, visit a local NRCS field officeor the NRCS website.  Print news Release (click here)


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