Ask FSA Andy about conservation plan reminders

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wheat field, Lake Erie, water quality,
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

Hello again,

I just returned from vacation in North Carolina. Their corn, beans and tobacco looked fairly good. Most years they seem to be in a perpetual drought. Good for them.

I returned to see wheat was being baled. Just a reminder if you happen to double crop beans, don’t forget to let your FSA office know.

Wheat rust

Also, a friend of mine had a fair amount of rust in his wheat this year. Apparently, we aren’t supposed to have true rust on wheat, and if you did, you might want to let your Extension agent know. Maybe we can get ahead of this issue.

Conservation

The following is a shout out for my district conservationist.

Eligibility for FSA, NRCS and RMA Crop Insurance programs require producers to have a conservation plan in order to plant on Highly Erodible Land (HEL) and there are restrictions on planting on ground determined to be a wetland. This used to be a hot topic but complacency seems to have settled in.

I’m not sure producers have a complete understanding of the ramifications and purpose of signing our form AD-1026. The title of the form, Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification, means just that. The form when signed states that you are certifying that you are following a conservation plan on all ground that you farm.

The plan may be from NRCS or you may be following your own conservation system. If you question whether you are in compliance check with NRCS before you are selected for a spot check.

Failure to be in compliance can cost you all benefits from FSA, EQIP funds from NRCS, and the subsidy on your crop insurance premium.

Tips

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help avoid this situation.

  • Many counties within the MWCD watershed have been getting grants to fall seed rye on Highly Erodible Land. Bean stubble and corn silage ground doesn’t provide much residue and planting a fall cover crop is a good start to keeping in compliance. Contact your local SWCD office to see if they offer this program or encourage them to.
  • Also, before creating new drainage systems, leveling, dredging, land clearing and stump removal should be evaluated by NRCS before doing as such. Maintaining existing drainage systems is okay but improving them without consulting your local NRCS is dicey at best.
  • Talk with your local District Conservationist about planting on highly erodible ground. Corn and bean rotations are popular and no till is great for this situation, but sometimes it’s not going to keep you in compliance.

Waterways

A few weeks ago there was an FSA Andy article on CRP and if I recall waterways might have been mentioned. That’s the only way I know of stopping gully erosion. I know landowners don’t want to sign up for stuff like that, but truthfully it’s the best thing they could do for their land.

They get cost share payments for installing them, yearly payments and you stay in compliance. What a deal.

That’s all for now,
FSA Andy

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