WEST LAFAYETTE, IN -- A Purdue University horticulture professor urges specialty crop producers who applied for enhanced crop insurance this year to make sure they file a conservation compliance form with the U.S. Department of Agriculture by June 1.
"It's a new requirement, and many specialty crop farmers might be unaware of the upcoming deadline for compliance," Bruce Bordelon said. "If they do not complete the form, they will not be eligible for federal crop insurance payments."
Under the 2014 farm bill, specialty crop producers were given the option of applying for enhanced crop coverage through the federal Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, commonly known as NAP.
To receive payments through the NAP enhanced coverage program, farmers must certify that they will not plant crops on erodible land unless previously approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Applicants must also agree not to drain, dredge, level or fill any wetlands on their property.
"Conservation certification is required to receive payments through most USDA programs," Bordelon said. "But typically, specialty crop producers do not participate in marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans and disaster assistance or other USDA programs, so they might not have completed the conservation compliance form previously."
Producers who complete the form by June 1 will be eligible for federal crop insurance payments for the 2016 reinsurance year, which begins July 1, 2015.
The Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form is available at local USDA service centers or online at www.fsa.usda.gov/AD1026form.
Completed forms should be taken to the local USDA service center.