Nov 06, 2014

NRCS Announces Easement Program Sign-Up, Deadlines

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for its Fiscal Year 2015 Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). Funds will be available for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands in Wisconsin.  Applications must be completed by January 16, 2015.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve and protect agricultural lands and restore wetlands.   ACEP has two components, Agricultural Land Easements, and Wetlands Reserve Easements.   The eased lands remain privately owned, and public access is not required.

Agricultural Land Easements

In Agricultural Land Easements, NRCS helps entities, such as state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, land trusts or Indian tribes, to protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Approved agricultural easements prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

Wetland Reserve Easements

In Wetland Reserve Easements, NRCS helps restore and protect previously drained or cropped wetlands. Wetlands provide habitat for fish and wildlife, improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater, and offer recreational activities. Eligible lands include farmed or prior converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.

Applications are available at local USDA Service Centers and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.

The ACEP combines NRCS' former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection (FRPP), Grassland Reserve (GRP) and Wetlands Reserve Programs (WRP). Learn more about ACEP at WI NRCS website under Easement Programs.