Laster says, “Some of the lost USDA program benefits can include conservation practice payments from farm bill programs, disaster payments, price support payments, as well as commodity and farm loans.”

In addition to the farm bill’s wetland provision, wetlands may be under further jurisdiction of other laws such as Section 404 of the Clean Water Act which is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE).

USDA producers should also contact the USACOE if they intend to conduct any activity that constitutes a discharge of dredged or fill material into wetlands or other waters, prior to starting the work.

Because the laws and regulations regarding wetlands are just as variable and complex as wetlands themselves, it is in the farm program participant’s best interest to seek guidance before impacting an area that has the potential to meet wetland criteria.

USDA program participants are encouraged to visit their USDA Service Center’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) office and complete an AD-1026 form prior to any clearing activity.

In order to further assist USDA farm program participants in understanding wetland conservation compliance, the NRCS has published a brochure entitled Wetlands and Conservation Compliance: WHAT EVERY GEORGIA FARMER NEEDS TO KNOW. This brochure is available free of charge at local USDA Service Centers throughout the state or available electronically for download at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/ga/programs/farmbill/.

You may find your local USDA Service Center office in the government listings or in the white pages of your phone book under “U.S. Government Department, Agriculture, Department of,” or by visiting http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.

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