Agricultural Land Easements
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. NRCS works with partners to acquire conservation easements on working agricultural land. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. The program also protects grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and shrubland.
NRCS provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. The eligible partners must also provide financial assistance to the producer. Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland programs that protect those uses.
Under the Agricultural Land component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. The partner and the producer contribute the other 50 percent; this can be done is a variety of ways. Where NRCS determines that grasslands of special environmental significance will be protected, NRCS may contribute up to 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.
Land eligible for agricultural easements includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forest land. NRCS will prioritize applications that protect agricultural uses and related conservation values of the land and those that maximize the protection of contiguous acres devoted to agricultural use.
To enroll land through agricultural land easements, NRCS enters into cooperative agreements with eligible partners. Each easement is required to have an agricultural land easement plan that promotes the long-term viability of the land.
How to apply
- Agricultural land easements - eligible partners may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire conservation easements on eligible land. Each year, the State Conservationist sets ranking cut-off dates for funding considerations. For FY 2016, the application cut-off date for funding consideration is December 18, 2015. Learn more.