The Agricultural Act of 2014 establishes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
It repeals FRPP, GRP, and WRP but does not affect the validity or terms of any FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement entered into prior to the date of enactment on February 7, 2014 or any associated payments required to be made in connection with an existing FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement.
The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) provides funds to purchase the development rights to farmland, preserving productive farmland for agricultural use. Working through existing programs, USDA joins with state, tribal or local governments to acquire conservation easements from landowners. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value.
To qualify, farmland must be part of a pending offer from a state, tribe or local farmland protection program; be privately owned; have a conservation plan; be large enough to sustain agricultural production; be accessible to markets for what the land produces; have adequate infrastructure and agricultural support services and have surrounding parcels of land that can support long-term agricultural production. Depending on availability of funds, proposals must be submitted by a government entity to the NRCS State Office during the sign-up period.