United States
               Environmental Protection
               Agency
Office of Water (WH-556F).
Office of Wetlands. Oceans.
and Watersheds (A-104 F)
EPA843-F-93-001 s
March 1993
              WETLANDS FACT SHEET #19
              Agriculture and  Wetlands:
               404 and  Swampbuster
      The two most important Federal wet-
lands programs-that directly affect farmers are
the Section 404 permitting program and the
Swampbuster program. Section 404 of the dean
Water Act requires that individuals must obtain
a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) 404
permit before discharging dredged or fill mate-
rial into waters of the United States, including
most wetlands. The Swampbuster program of
the Food Security Act, administered by the U. S.
Department of Agriculture, is intended to dis-
courage the alteration of wetlands by withhold-
ing certain Federal farm program benefits from
farmers who convert or modify wetlands.
      Section404 permitting andSwampbuster
provision requirements are complex and can be
confusing.  The Federal agencies involved are
actively working together to improve program
coordination, and to clarify the relationship be-
tween Section 404 and Swampbuster. For ex-
ample, "prior converted croplands" have been
excluded from regulation under Section 404 to
be consistent with Swampbuster.

   Section 404 Provisions

      Perhaps the most important informa-
tion for farmers regarding Section 404 is that
most routine/ ongoing farming activities do
not require individual Section 404 permits.
Section 404 permitting requirements apply only
to discharges of dredged or fill materials in
wetlands, streams, rivers, and "other waters of
theUnitedStates." In general, farming activities
that occur in areas that are not wetlands or
waters of the U. S. or that do not involve dis-
charges of dredged and fill material do not
require Section 404 permits.
      Many normal farming, silviculture and
ranching activities that involve discharges of
dredged orfill materials into waters of the United
States are exempted from Section 404, and do
not require notification or submission of a per-
mit application to the Corps.  In order to be
   exempt, the fanning activity must be part of an
   ongoing fanning operation and cannot be asso-
   ciated with bringing a wetland into agriculture
   production or converting an agricultural wet-
   land to a non-wetland area.

     Swampbuster Provisions

      The Swampbuster provision of the 1985
   Food Security Act, as amended by the Food,
   Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of
   1990, withholds Federal farm program ben-
   efits from any person who:
     plants an agricultural commodity on a
      converted wetland that was converted by
      drainage, dredging, leveling, or any other
      means after December 23,1985; or
     converts a wetland for the purpose of or to
      make agricultural commodity production
      possible after November 28,1990.

      Fanners are asked to report on whether
   they plan to or have altered any "wet area"
   when they apply for their farm benefits (Form
   AD 1026).  The Soil Conservation Service
   assists farmers in making wetland determina-
   tions with regard to the Swampbuster Pro-
   gram.

       To make sure  fanners maintain
    their benefits tinder the USD A farm
    program,, they should contact the Soil
    Conservation Service before clearing
    and stumping, draining, or manipu-
    lating any wet areas on their land.

       They should also check with the
    local Corps district office if they are
    unsure whether ongoing or planned
    activities occurring in wetlands are
    regulated under Section 404.
     For more information, contact the EPA Wetlands Hotline at 1-800-832-7828 *
* contractor operated

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