U.S. Department of the Interior

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Stephanie Hamlett
Division of Regulatory Support
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Prime Farmland

Prime farmland is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (7 CFR 657) 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, see the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) prime farmland page.

OSMRE regulations, in support of the Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act of 1977, require prime farmland that has been historically used as cropland (30 CFR 701.5) to be reclaimed to a cropland post mining land use.

More Information

Date Document
2015 NRCS Guidelines for Reclaiming Prime Farmland: Addendum One
2007 NRCS Guidelines for Reclaiming Prime Farmland
1999 Citizen's Soils Guide
1998 Prime Farmland Forum Proceedings
1992 National Symposium on Prime Farmland Reclamation Proceedings
1988 Prime Farmland Forum Proceedings

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 4/24/17

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