Debt for Nature Program

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)

The Debt for Nature (DFN) program is administered by the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). DFN is only available to persons with FSA loans secured by real estate. DFN allows eligible landowners to reduce their FSA debt while practicing wildlife stewardship on their farms. Eligible landowners can have a portion of their debt cancelled in exchange for protecting natural resources on marginal cropland and environmentally sensitive lands.

Participants in the DFN program enter into a conservation contract of 10, 30, or 50 years which legally restricts the type and amount of development that may occur on portions of the property covered by the conservation contract.

DFN is a valuable debt management tool. It is not limited to those current on their loan payments; participants can also be those experiencing difficulty keeping their loan payment up to date.

Eligible lands may be wetlands, highly erodible lands, rare or valuable wildlife habitat, watershed priority areas, areas in the 100 year floodplain, buffer zones, areas in or eligible to be in the National Register of Historic Places, and areas near Federal, State, or local conservation areas.

During the terms of the contract, practices such as construction, livestock access, timber harvest (though there are exceptions), agricultural production, and waste disposal are usually prohibited on the land under contract.

Program Page

Getting Started:

  • Recipients of a FSA Farm Loan Program loan which is secured by real estate may contact their local USDA FSA office for DFN.

USDA Service Center Locator

  • FSA will determine eligibility and coordinate a field assessment of the farm to determine whether a DFN contract can be established.top

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