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News Release

Applications for Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Contact:
Karen Dearlove
(907) 283-8732 ex114


Palmer, May 8, 2014 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. Up to $366 million is available nationwide for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands.

“Through the consolidation of easement programs under the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, NRCS streamlined programs to focus on priority agricultural lands for conservation easements,” said Bob Jones, NRCS State Conservationist. “We encourage non-governmental organizations, Alaska Native Tribes, state and local governments, and private landowners to contact an NRCS office to discuss program eligibility and how to apply.”

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), created through the 2014 Farm Bill, funds easements for agricultural lands and wetlands impacted by agricultural operations. Approved agricultural easements would prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of lands devoted to agricultural production. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and non-industrial private forestland may be eligible. Wetland easements will restore and enhance wetlands and improve wildlife habitat. Eligible lands for wetland easements include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.

Applications are currently being accepted for ACEP through the use of new application forms available at USDA offices or at eForms. Applications may be sent by email to Karen Dearlove, NRCS Alaska Realty and Easement Specialist at Karen.Dearlove@ak.usda.gov or may be delivered by mail or hand-delivery to the NRCS Alaska State Office at 800 West Evergreen Avenue in Palmer. By either method, ACEP applications must be received by NRCS by 4:00PM June 6, 2014. ACEP applications will be ranked by the NRCS Alaska State Office and submitted to National Headquarters for consideration of funding by late June 2014. The announcement of ACEP applications selected for funding is expected by late July 2014.

The ACEP combines the former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, Grassland Reserve, and Wetlands Reserve programs of NRCS. Learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/farmbill.To get started with NRCS, contact an NRCS Office. Alaska NRCS Northern Hub Office in Fairbanks: (907) 479-3159, Alaska NRCS Southern Hub Office in Kenai: (907) 283-8732, Alaska NRCS Central Hub Office in Wasilla: (907) 373-6492 and the State Office in Palmer: (907) 761-7760or visithttp://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/ak/home/.

For information regarding NRCS technical service or program participation,. Contact information for the offices in Alaska is also available at: www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/ak/contact/local.