May 28, 2015

LAST CHANCE — Submit Conservation Compliance Application before June 1 Deadline

In the last farm bill, Congress required that producers enact certain minimal environmental standards if they farmed on highly erodible land or wetlands. These requirements are referred to as “conservation compliance,” and while not everyone has to implement practices on their land, everyone has to fill-out a certification form.

Producers who want to receive the federal discount on crop insurance are required to fill out a conservation compliance certification form (Form AD-1026) by June 1, 2015. Farmers who do not submit this form will see their crop insurance premiums increase.  Federal financial support reduces the average crop insurance premium that a producer pays by half — meaning the average producer’s premium payment is likely to double if they don’t fill-out this form. 

As indicated above, ALL farming operations must complete this form; however, some operators’ requirements may be less substantive than others.   Some examples include:

  • If you grow certain types of permanent crops (like orchard or vine crops that aren’t annually tilled) you don’t have any substantive requirements
  • Also, if you grow annually tilled crops, but do not grow crops on highly erodible land or wetlands, you don’t have to implement anything substantive.
  • Finally, even if you grow annually tilled crops on highly erodible or wetlands, then while you have substantive requirements, those requirements can be flexible depending on the systems you already have in place (for example, farmers in California’s irrigated land regulatory program already have many a conservation system in place so additional elements may not be as extensive)

Background and More Details

Every crop insurance policy sold in the United States is financially supported by the federal government.  Instead of paying out disaster assistance as it used to decades ago, the federal government expanded crop insurance policies as a way to ensure farmers could survive natural disasters outside of their control, like drought, flood, hurricanes or other acts of God. 

Western Growers has been engaged on this issue with our members for some time.  To date, we have:

(PLEASE NOTE: The following materials are hosted on the WG website and registration is required for access, but it’s FAST, EASY and FREE and takes just a minute to complete)

  1. Hosted a webinar with USDA staff to walk through the requirement

  2. Secured supplemental information from USDA staff to questions not addressed during the webinar
  3. CLICK HERE to view the Supplemental Questions and Answers

To assist you in filling out this form, we have also provided a link to USDA’s website which hosts all the relevant conservation compliance materials that it has produced. 

Tips and Directions on Submitting the Form

There are elements of the form that can be confusing, so you can engage the Farm Service Agency (FSA) at a service center to help you fill-out the form either in person or via the phone. Here is an interactive map to locate the nearest USDA Service Center.

You can submit the form in person, via fax or you can mail it in. However if you decide to submit the form and information, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you obtain some sort of documentation that proves you made your submission before the deadline.  For example:

  • If you choose to mail it, you NEED to ensure you pay for tracking to prove that it was mailed. Be sure to include all return information inside your submission (the form does not include a full space for your address). 
  • If you drop the form off in person, it is IMPERATIVE that you ask for a photocopy of the date stamped page to retain for your records.
  • Faxes, by their nature, should include electronic date and time stamps logs that show when the information was sent; however, PLEASE BE SURE that the transmission goes through and is received.   

If you have questions on crop insurance or need more information, please contact WGs’ Gretchen Rooney-Adan.  For questions regarding the filing of Form 1026, please contact your local FSA office.