OSMRE regulations require that prime farmland that has been historically used as cropland be reclaimed to a cropland post mining land use.
Prime farmland is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and is available for these uses. As the regulatory bureau over surface mining and surface impacts from underground mining, OSMRE's duty is to ensure that land, such as prime farmland, is preserved and can continue to be a valuable resource for the people of America.
For a more technical explanation of how prime farmland is classified, visit the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) prime farmland page. NRCS also provides the guidelines for managing and reclaiming prime farmland. For more information, view the documents on the NRCS website here.