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Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Provisions
“The Agricultural Act of 2014 re-established the applicability of the HELC and WC provisions to crop insurance premium subsidies. The Act made no change in how HELC and WC provisions are implemented with respect to NRCS and FSA programs.”
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. Producers who are not in compliance with HELC and WC provisions are not eligible to receive benefits for most programs administered by FSA and NRCS. If a producer received program benefits and is later found to be non-compliant, the producer may be required to refund all benefits received and/or may be assessed a penalty.
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.
HELC and WC Non-Compliance - Risk Management Agency – Policies Reinsured by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation
In regards to crop insurance subsidies, producers obtaining federally reinsured crop insurance will not be eligible for any premium subsidy paid by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) for any policy or plan of insurance if the producer:
Has not filed an accurately completed AD-1026 with FSA certifying compliance with HELC and WC provisions; or
Is not in compliance with HELC and WC provisions. Unless specific exemptions apply, a producer must:
Be in compliance with a NRCS-approved conservation plan for all highly erodible land;
Not plant or produce an agricultural commodity on a wetland converted after Feb. 7, 2014; and
Not have converted a wetland after Feb. 7, 2014, to make possible the production of an agricultural commodity.
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.