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Are You Bringing New Land Into Production?

Are You Bringing New Land Into Production?

Be sure to check with your local FSA office if you are thinking about bringing new land that hasn't been farmed before, or bringing CRP acres, into production in 2011. There are several things to consider.

FAQ: We are considering bringing land into production, land that hasn't been farmed in the past. What do I need to do?

Answer: Provided by Beth Grabau, public affairs and outreach specialist with USDA's Farm Service Agency state office in Des Moines.

First, let's define past. In 1986, the highly erodible and wetland conservation compliance language was passed and came into effect. At that time, all cropland was given an HEL (highly erodible land) determination. Cropland was classified as being either highly erodible or non-highly erodible.

Producers were notified of the determination for each field. An HEL determination requires that an approved soil conservation system be applied to the land in order to be eligible for any USDA farm program benefits.

If you are considering bringing new land into production, review the HEL determination for the field at your local FSA office. If a determination hasn't been made on the area in question, file an AD-1026. A HEL determination will be made and if applicable, and a soil conservation plan and system will need to be applied to bring this new land into production.

Farmers should also file an AD-1026 form with the local FSA office before installing new drainage tile, or repairing and existing drainage system, etc. Conducting these activities could be considered to be in violation of the wetland provision. Conservation compliance violations can result in a penalty and in some cases ineligibility of FSA program benefits. These penalties can be severe, so please check before beginning any activity.

What about bringing CRP acres back into row-crop?

A farmer recently asked, "We have some land that we decided not re-enroll into CRP during this last general sign-up and we also have some land that was not accepted into the CRP. What do we need to do to bring this land back into row crop production?"

The answer is generally fields that were enrolled into the USDA Conservation Reserve Program or CRP during a general sign up are highly erodible. These fields require that an approved conservation system be applied before bringing this land back into production. Producers should review the HEL determination and review their conservation system with their local NRCS office. Remember, violation of conservation compliance regulations can result in a penalty and in some cases ineligibility of farm program benefits.

If you have specific questions or need details regarding USDA farm programs, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. You can also get news and information about DCP, ACRE and other USDA programs at

Two Iowa State University Extension Web sites have farm program information and analysis. They are ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at and ISU Extension Specialist Steve Johnson's site at

And be sure to read the regular column "Frequently Asked Questions about the Farm Program" that appears in each issue of Wallaces Farmer magazine and at

TAGS: Extension
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