In order for farmers to receive farm program payments from USDA and participate in USDA farm programs, compliance with the government's Highly Erodible Land conservation provisions and the Wetland Conservation provisions are required.
John Whitaker, state executive director for USDA's Farm Service Agency in Iowa, is reminding farmers about the rules. The situation with land that's designated as highly erodible and land designated as wetland is raising questions. With high grain prices farmers are pulling more land out of pasture, hay and the Conservation Reserve Program and planting it to corn and soybeans. In some cases wetlands have been drained and planted to crops.
"With the one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, producers are reminded that highly erodible land conservation provisions and wetland conservation provisions remain in effect for the 2013 program year," says Whitaker. "Farmers are reminded to follow tillage, crop residue and crop rotation requirements as specified in their conservation plans. Farmers should notify their local FSA office prior to conducting any land clearing, including tree removal or drainage projects, to insure compliance."
What are the basic restrictions of conservation compliance? What are definitions of HEL and WC provisions?
Persons who produce an agricultural commodity on a field(s) where highly erodible soil is predominant, are eligible for USDA program benefits unless it has been determined by NRCS that an acceptable conservation system is not being actively applied. This conservation system must be adequate for highly erodible land and will be based on the local NRCS technical guide.