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Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land. Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.

Landowners and entities interested in using conservation easements to address natural resource concerns can submit applications at any time to a USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service office. Applications must be submitted by May 15, 2015 to be considered for fiscal year 2015 ACEP funding. Though signup is continuous, funding selections are made at specific times during the fiscal year.

Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)

What's New in ACEP?

Applications must be submitted by May 15, 2015 to be considered for fiscal year 2015 ACEP funding.

ACEP Program Manual (HTML | generate 3.8MB PDF )

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Interim Final Rule - Comments

The public comment period runs from February 26, 2015 to April 28, 2015. 

View and comment on the ACEP Interim Final Rule on the website

A summary of the changes is on the NRCS Farm Bill Rules page.

Agricultural Land Easements protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. Land protected by agricultural land easements provides additional public benefits, including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space.

Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE)

Wetland Reserve Easements provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater, protect biological diversity and provide opportunities for educational, scientific and limited recreational activities.

Additional Information

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ACEP Fact Sheet (PDF; 1.2 MB)

For more information on the ACEP program, contact:

Alan Forkey, Programs Manager
Phone: 530-792-5653

Elizabeth Palmer, Acting-Easement Programs Specialist
Phone: 559-734-8732 ext 134