Compliance for HELC and WC remain in effect

Posted May 1, 2013 at 10:46 am

John R. Whitaker, state executive director for USDA’s Iowa Farm Service Agency, (FSA) reminds producers that in order to receive payments from USDA, compliance with Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions are required.

“With the one year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, producers are reminded that highly erodible land conservation (HELC) and wetland conservation (WC) provisions remain in effect for the 2013 program year,” said Whitaker. “Farmers are reminded to follow tillage, crop residue, and rotation requirements as specified in their conservation systems. Producers should notify their local FSA office prior to conducting any land clearing, including tree removal, or drainage projects to insure compliance.”

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 NRCS technical guide.

Under the Wetland Conservation (WC) Provisions, persons are ineligible for USDA program benefits if they; plant an agricultural commodity on a wetland that was converted after December 23, 1985 or if they convert a wetland after November 28, 1990, by draining dredging, filing, leveling or any other means for the purpose, or to have the effect, of making the production of an agricultural commodity possible.

Whitaker added, last summer’s drought conditions may have affected required seeding that was needed to remain in compliance. These stands could be thin or didn’t have the expected germination. If you are in this situation, please consult with your local NRCS about applying for a variance, so that your eligibility for payments can be protected.

As a final note on this subject, remember safety. Gas and power lines are located beneath the soil’s surface and tragic accidents have occurred in our state when they have been struck when farmers have conducted land clearing or drainage projects. A simple call to the state’s One Call system could have prevented these tragedies. Dial 811 or go online to to have lines located in your area.