More than 98 percent of the farmers and ranchers required to certify conservation compliance to qualify for crop insurance premium support payments have done so. This news release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the conservation provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill are expected to cover an additional 1.5 million acres of highly erodible lands and 1.1 million acres of wetlands, which will reduce soil erosion, enhance water quality, and create wildlife habitat.
“This overwhelming response is a product of USDA’s extensive outreach and the commitment of America’s farmers to be stewards of the land,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By investing in both American farmers and the health of our productive lands, we are ensuring future generations have access to fertile soil, healthy food supplies, and a strong rural economy.”
USDA has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that every impacted producer knew of the June 1, 2015 deadline to certify their conservation compliance. For example, all 2015 crop insurance contracts included conservation compliance notifications. USDA has sent out more than 50,000 reminder letters and postcards to individual producers, made over 25,000 phone calls, conducted informational meetings and training sessions for nearly 6,000 stakeholders across the country, including in major specialty crop producing states with affected commodity groups, and more. Since December 2014, USDA collaborated with crop insurers to ensure they had updated lists for agents to continue contacting producers to also remind them of the filing deadline.
USDA believes those with outstanding records might no longer be farming or may have filed forms with discrepancies that can still be reconciled.