A South Dakota farmer has filed a lawsuit against USDA, alleging that the agency’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has illicitly forced a portion of his farm out of production because of its designation as a wetland. The farmer alleges the action is unconstitutional given the agency’s influence on his participation in crop insurance and other federal programs. The no-til farmer is no stranger to conservation practices like no-till and said the spot deemed a wetland — less than one acre in a 44-acre field — is farmed whenever possible but can affect as much as 2 acres of total production in wet years. NRCS provisions prohibit him from taking steps to drain the water from the spot via “swampbuster provisions” dating back to the 1985 Farm Bill intended to discourage the conversion of wetlands to crop ground. Attorneys say the designation prevents the farmer from participating in federal programs “to achieve the outcome that [the government] wants.” Also playing into the situation: USDA only checks around 1% of applicable wetland locations per year, with fewer than 5 such violations found in states with high wetland numbers. Penalties are waived in the majority of cases where a farmer is found to be in violation of wetlands conservation rules. See more on the developing story.