Changes to Swampbuster in the 1996 Farm Bill
Modifications to Conservation Title programs include changes to the Wetlands Conservation (Swampbuster) provision to allow USDA to waive penalties associated with violations in exchange for mitigation specified by USDA and to determine which USDA program benefits may be withheld from violators. Eligibility to receive Freedom to Farm payments is still linked to compliance with Swampbuster and Highly Erodible Land provisions. However, the statute removed crop insurance and disaster payments from the list of USDA program benefits subject to Swampbuster, thereby lessening the incentive to comply. The added flexibility for USDA to waive penalties may further diminish the incentive to comply with Swampbuster, and may place greater pressure on USDA to be lenient in enforcing the wetland conservation provisions.
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