Follow conservation plans carefully

Hello Again,Did you find in your younger years that you would act first then ask questions later? How long did it take you to realize that this was not always the best path to take? Had you asked a few questions first, it may have kept you out of trouble in the end.

When dealing with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation Provisions, taking this stance could be a costly mistake. Read on to see if you as a producer or landowner will ask questions first before you begin your next improvement project on your crop fields.

The term “sod busting” is used to identify the plowing up of erosion-prone grasslands for use as cropland. Sodbuster violations are unauthorized tillage practices on highly erodible lands that converted native vegetation such as rangeland or woodland, to crop production after Dec. 23, 1985.

Being eligible

Farmers should be aware that if they use highly erodible land for crop production without proper conservation measures, they risk losing eligibility to participate in Farm Service Agency programs and programs administered by the Natural Resource and Conservation Service.

Before producers clear, plow or otherwise prepare areas not presently under crop production for planting, they are required to file an AD-1026, indicating the area to be brought into production. This includes getting rid of those fence rows to increase the size of your field.

If Natural Resources Conservation Service indicates an area will be highly erodible land, the producer will be required to develop and implement a conservation plan on the affected acreage, before bringing land into production.

Wetland conservation

Another provision that producers must comply with are Wetland Conservation Provisions. Producers are cautioned to please check with their local FSA office prior to doing any tiling or drainage projects.

Clearing of land to plant an agriculture commodity will also require a check to see if hydric soils are present and if any part of the soon to be ‘new field’ contains a wetland.Failure to follow this procedure can be very costly to the producer. You could lose all program benefits from our office.

Please be cautious and ask before you break out, clear any land, do any draining/tiling or just clean up the fence row to plant to an agricultural commodity. Producers must also be cautioned that once you have a Conservation Plan you need to follow that plan every year.

Check in your desk drawer, get out your conservation plans, dust them off and review them to see what is required on your part to fulfill your plan. If you have any questions or concerns, check with your local Farm Service Agency or Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Now that you have read FSA Andy for this week, I am sure you will make a visit to your local FSA office to ask questions about those field improvements you intend to make over the next few months.

That’s all for now, FSA Andy

About the Author

FSA Andy is written by USDA Farm Service Agency county executive directors in northeastern Ohio. More Stories by FSA Andy

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