This year is shaping up as an interesting one for Illinois crop producers.
With high commodity prices tempting farmers to use every available acre of land, many producers have purchased or are renting land they aren’t familiar with.
“As a result, we are cautioning producers participating in U.S. Department of Agriculture programs to think about every new acre to be planted,” said Scherrie Giamanco, Illinois state executive director of thee USDA’s Farm Service Agency. “They may not be aware of a converted wetland or highly erodible lands. Will the new land meet conservation compliance eligibility? Will the planting of a converted wetland on one farm cause loss of FSA benefits on all farms in which you have an interest?”
Changes that could impact conservation compliance eligibility include the following:
• Clearing timber areas to create or expand existing crop areas.
• Converting a pasture into a crop field.
• Cropping areas on a farm that have not been cropped in recent years.
• Draining a wet spot in a field to make cropping easier.
• Operating new land that may have been converted wetlands and cannot be planted.
“There are many questions about wetlands that need to be considered each year by producers to ensure that they remain eligible for USDA benefits,” Giamanco said. “Producers are reminded that in order to be eligible for USDA programs, compliance with Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation provisions are required.”
Producers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center before clearing land or conducting draining projects to ensure that eligibility is maintained.