In regard to U.S. agriculture, what does the term “conservation compliance” mean?


Compliance with Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions of the Farm Bill are required for participation in most USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. These provisions place restrictions on the planting of an agricultural commodity on highly erodible land or wetlands. Further, they prohibit the conversion of a wetland to make possible the production of an agricultural commodity.

The 2014 Farm Bill adds premium assistance for crop insurance as a benefit subject to compliance with HELC and WC provisions.  The FSA makes HELC/WC eligibility determinations for crop insurance participants based on NRCS technical determinations of HELC/WC compliance.

Answer adapted from What’s in the 2014 Farm Bill for Farm Service Agency Customers?