Compliance with HEL and Wetland Conservation provisions are required in order to participate in any USDA program.
These provisions are intended to reduce soil loss due to wind and water erosion, protect the nation’s long-term capacity to produce food and fiber, reduce sedimentation and improve water quality, and to assist in preserving the functions and values of the nation’s wetlands.
What activities could impact compliance?
Some examples are land clearing, filling, leveling, excavation, dredging, stump removal, creating or improving a drainage system, and significantly changing crop rotations on HEL fields.
If you are interested in doing any of the above activities or others on your land, visit your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office, and complete an AD-1026 form. FSA will forward the request to NRCS for evaluation. Find local USDA Service Center locations at: www.nc.nrcs.usda.gov.
What does this mean for you?
• Find out if any of your fields are designated as HEL. If so, an approved conservation system must be applied on these fields.
• Do NOT plant crops on land that was converted from a wetland to cropland between Dec. 23, 1985 and Nov. 28, 1990.
• Ensure that agricultural commodity production is NOT possible on and no conversion has been completed on wetlands present on your land since Nov. 28, 1990.
• If you are unsure, contact your local FSA or NRCS office.
USDA Benefits that could be affected:
Commodity Programs: Direct and Counter-Cyclical Program (DCP), Non-Insured Assistance Program, Supplemental Agriculture Crop Disaster Assistance Program (SURE), Livestock Disaster Assistance Program, Price Support Assistance, Farm Direct and Operating Loan Program, and others.
Conservation Programs: Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act payments or loan assistance, Farm & Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP), and others.