Legal-Ease: Clearing brush can lead to permanent government program ineligibility

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at [email protected] or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Landowners who clear brush may be permanently ineligible for some government programs that are administered through the USDA. Before removing anything from their land, landowners should contact their local Farm Service Agency to be certain that the property being cleared isn’t a wetland. Federal law says that any conversion of wetlands to cropland could make the converting party ineligible for participation in all USDA programs.

Landowners, including farmers, who clear brush, old fences or trees from land may be setting themselves up for permanent ineligibility for certain government programs administered through the USDA.

Before clearing a fencerow, removing trees or otherwise changing the character of any un-farmed property, landowners should contact their local Farm Service Agency office to confirm that the property to be cleared is not a wetland. If pre-approval is not secured, the converting person may be forced to re-populate the affected area with native trees and plants, remove any installed drainage and agree to never farm the subject area.

Read more about USDA programs and the ways in which landowners can be deemed ineligible in Lee’s article in the Lima News here:  Legal-Ease: Clearing brush can lead to permanent government program ineligibility

Source: LimaOhio.com, “Legal-Ease: Clearing brush can lead to permanent government program ineligibility,” by Lee R. Schroeder, April 30, 2016

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