98 percent of farmers certified for conservation compliance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has certified that 98.2 percent of producers have met the 2014 Farm Bill requirement to certify conservation compliance, qualifying them for crop insurance premium support payments.

"I've asked the agencies to contact the producers again before their sales closing date," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. "I want to ensure that every producer that turned in an AD-1026 by June 1, 2015, knows they can still make corrections and remain eligible for premium support."

Implementing the 2014 Farm Bill provisions for conservation compliance could extend conservation provisions for an additional 1.5 million acres of highly erodible lands and 1.1 million acres of wetlands. These provisions reduce soil erosion, enhance water quality and create wildlife habitat.

The USDA went extraordinary lengths to ensure that every impacted producer received notification of the June 1 deadline to certify their conservation compliance.

All 2015 crop insurance contracts included conservation compliance notifications. The USDA sent out more than 50,000 reminder letters and postcards to individual producers, made over 25,000 phone calls, and conducted informational meetings and training sessions for nearly 6,000 stakeholders across the country.

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. Of the small number of producers who have not certified their conservation compliance, USDA records suggest the majority are no longer farming or may have filed forms with discrepancies that can still be reconciled.

The Farm Service Agency has been reaching out to these producers before their sales closing date. They are also working with individuals facing extenuating circumstances who have not filed the form to assist them with certifying compliance.

USDA has also provided additional flexibility to help the now insured producers in certifying their conservation compliance.

Producers who began farming or ranching after June 1 -- or producers who have not participated in USDA programs prior to June 1 -- can file an exemption to the conservation compliance certification for reinsurance year 2016 and still be eligible for the crop insurance premium support.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture

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