USDA reminds producers to certify conservation compliance

By Sarah Gonzalez

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WASHINGTON, July 22, 2014-- USDA issued a reminder today that producers must have a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification (AD-1026) on file in order to receive federal crop insurance subsidies, as mandated by the 2014 Farm Bill.

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The farm bill relinked conservation compliance with eligibility for premium support paid under the federal crop insurance program, administered through the Risk Management Agency (RMA). For farmers to be eligible for premium support on their federal crop insurance, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) must have completed and signed AD-1026 form.

This is the same form used for FSA and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs, so most producers should already have the certification on file, USDA's announcement noted.

Producers who have not already filled out a compliance certification form must do so before June 1, 2015. 

RMA Administrator Brandon Willis clarified that the farm bill mandates producers must certify compliance and eventually stay in compliance to receive premium subsidies from the government. RMA published an interim rule on July 7 that outlined the certification process. USDA will issue the primary rule this fall. “That will have all the details of how exemptions apply to producers,” Willis said. 

“All we ask people to do this year is to certify that form,” Willis said, noting that only a small subset of producers should need to do so, since most that are currently participating in crop insurance also participate in other FSA and NRCS programs that already require conservation compliance.

“We're trying to provide as much flexibility and make it as producer-friendly as possible,” Willis said.

Fruit and vegetable growers may make up a majority of this subset without an AD-1026, Willis noted, because they did not have access to any Title I commodity programs administered by FSA. 

AD-1026 is available at USDA Service Centers and online at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

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