New options available for<br />Farmable Wetlands Program

New options available for
Farmable Wetlands Program The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that producers can now sign up for new options in the Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP). The FWP is a voluntary program that helps producers restore up to 1 million acres of farmable wetlands and associated buffers.  "The Farmable Wetlands Program is a very useful tool for producers to manage small, scattered wetlands on their property," said South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Bill Even. "It gives farmers and ranchers another option for managing their operations."   The program was included in the 2002 Farm Bill, and the 2008 Farm Bill expanded the eligibility requirements to enroll additional land not previously eligible for the program. To be eligible for enrollment in the new FWP, land must fall into one of four categories:  •Land must be cropland, planted to an agricultural commodity three out of the 10  most recent crop years and be physically and legally capable of being planted in a normal manner to an agriculture commodity; or •Land for a constructed wetland developed to receive flow from a row crop agricultural drainage system for the purposes of providing nitrogen removal and other wetland functions; or •Land devoted to commercial pond-raised aquaculture during 2002-2007; or •Land that was cropped between Jan.1, 1990, and Dec. 31, 2002, that was cropped at least three of 10 years and was subject to natural overflow from a prairie wetland.  The maximum enrollment for the FWP cannot exceed 40 acres for wetlands or constructed wetlands, 20 acres for overflow prairie wetlands and enrollments of wetlands; buffers shall not exceed 200 acres per tract.  The FWP offers producers significant enrollment incentives, including a Signing Incentive Payment of $100 per acre to enroll their land, a Practice Incentive of 40 percent of the cost to establish the practice, 50 percent cost-share, and a rental rate equaling 120 percent of the soil rental rate.  "Producers looking for ways to enhance their land for wildlife should take a close look at the Farmable Wetlands Program, especially with the new options approved in the 2008 Farm Bill," said South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks Secretary Jeff Vonk. "Landowners in the northeastern part of the state may find it particularly appealing because overflow prairie wetlands are now included in the program."  Current enrollment in the Farmable Wetlands program is approximately 46,600 acres in South Dakota and 188,800 acres nationally.  To enroll in the Farmable Wetlands Program, landowners should visit their local Farm Service Agency Office (FSA) or visit www.fsa.usda.gov

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