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News Release

Applications Due for New Conservation Easements Program

Deadline is June 6

Release: 382014 

GAINESVILLE, Fl., May 28, 2014– Applications are due June 6 for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service's new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP), which provides financial assistance for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to establish conservation easements. The ACEP was created through the 2014 Farm Bill and funds easements for agricultural lands and wetland reserves, combining NRCS’ former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, Grassland Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs.

Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners can contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.

The program is comprised of two types of easements: agricultural and wetlands. Agricultural easements prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and protect land devoted to food production. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.  Wetland reserve easements restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.

Applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. Applications are available at local NRCS office and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Agreements will be evaluated starting in late August.

For more information about agricultural easements contact Nina Bhattacharyya, 352-338-9554. Contact Crenel Francis, 352-338-3508 about wetland reserve easements.

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