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
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 bringing new land into production, 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.