Legislation introduced in the Senate would bring much-needed reform to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Compliance program. The NRCS Wetland Compliance and Appeals Reform Act, introduced by Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), would require the NRCS to provide more evidence in determining wetlands and give farmers more rights in the appeals process.
Farmers have been subjected to repeated, unjustified and costly decisions by the NRCS, as documented by American Farm Bureau. It is important for these issues to be addressed. AFBF has advocated for clear rules and safeguards to ensure the fair treatment of farmers in conservation compliance. When USDA released the Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation Final Rule, it was clear that the issues had not been remedied. Thus, the need for legislation.
“The plain truth is that farmers have been treated unfairly by NRCS when trying to be good stewards of the land,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “AFBF stood up for them by pressing for changes to conservation compliance programs, and we applaud Sen. Rounds for introducing the NRCS Wetland Compliance and Appeals Reform Act. It would institute needed reforms, and although sweeping in nature in its current form, it takes important steps toward creating a fair and understandable process for America’s farmers.”
Learn more about a unanimous rebuke of NRCS by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and find examples of unfair conservation compliance enforcement:
- David Boucher case
- Kurt Wilke case
- Brad Smith case
- Charles Hood case
- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling