The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) released a new fact sheet on conservation compliance rules. These rules require producers to abide by certain conditions on land that is highly erodible or a considered a wetland in order to participate in USDA programs.

The new fact sheet addresses:

  • Definitions of highly erodible and wetlands
  • How USDA NRCS personnel determine whether land is highly erodible or a wetland
  • The requirements of conservation compliance
  • How landowners and farmers can identify land requiring conservation compliance
  • The consequences of non-compliance
  • How to regain eligibility

Its important for landowners to keep conservation compliance in mind as well, even if not receiving any USDA program benefits. Many farm leases require tenant operators to maintain the land’s eligibility for USDA programs, a provision of perhaps growing importance due to decreasing incentives to comply for USDA programs resulting from increased commodity prices, pressure to farm more land as input costs rise, and the potential termination of direct payments, a key USDA program used to help ensure compliance.