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Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) combines NRCS's former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, Grassland Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Programs. The ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill, funds easements for working agricultural lands and wetland reserves. ACEP is comprised of two components: Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).

To be considered for funding in the 2014 fiscal year, applications must be submitted to NRCS by June 6, 2014. However, NRCS accepts applications for all easement programs on a continuous basis.

Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)

ALE easements would prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food and fiber production. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible. The application materials below are used in Montana for ALE. Note that the ALE Grasslands of Special Significance ranking for 2014 will be completed by NRCS staff.

Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE)

WRE easements would restore and enhance wetlands and improve wildlife habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. Applications are available at local USDA Service Centers or at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.

Information on the National NRCS Web Site

Archived Information on Former Easement Programs in Montana

The Agricultural Act of 2014 established the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). It repeals the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP), the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), and the Wetlands Reserve Program (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.