A lot of field work began last fall and continues in the new year leading up to planting season. One agency is reminding producers and landowners to keep in mind compliance issues.
Tillage may not seem like the most technical of on-farm operations, however a few passes in the wrong spot could have major consequences for an operation. Darren Moser is a Soil Conservationist with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. He explains wetland compliance issues are becoming more prevalent and carry stiff penalties for both producers and landowners.
"We're starting to see a lot of requests come into the office for tiling and general water problems that they've had in the past," Moser said. "Wetland compliance is something we're seeing a lot more of lately and it's because whether it's the owners or the operators they have money to invest and make their ground more productive. We want to protect the producer from being out of compliance for the farm programs; you're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars that producer is in jeopardy of losing. And it doesn't just affect the operators but also tags the owner, so if the owner has ground in different states throughout the nation that gives that owner a red flag, which also affects those producers on other tracts, so it’s a domino effect."
In addition to farmed wetland compliance producers should also be aware of Highly Erodible Land compliance while completing their field work. Moser says farm program eligibility is also at stake with HEL compliance.
"Typically we see about any fall tillage takes a follow-up in the spring," Moser said. "Under Highly Erodible Land provisions, has to maintain a tolerable soil loss. By doing too much tillage or excessive tillage it kicks the tolerable soil loss way up, which in turn starts jeopardizing you're program benefits due to the amount of tillage."
Moser encourages all producers to check with their local Farm Service Agency and NRCS offices before beginning any field improvement projects.