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News Release

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP)

New Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) combines function and purpose of FRPP, GRP, and WRP

March, 7 2014, Raleigh, NC -The Agricultural Act of 2014 was enacted on February 7, 2014 (2014 Act).  The 2014 Act establishes the new Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).  ACEP has two components: 1) Agricultural Land Easements (ALE), and 2) Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).  The ALE component combines the purposes and functions of the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) to protect working agricultural lands by providing financial assistance to eligible entities toward the purchase of Agricultural Land Easements.  The WRE component replaces and operates like the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) and will provide financial assistance directly to private and Tribal landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through the purchase of Wetland Reserve Easements.

North Carolina NRCS will continue working with the potential eligible entities that applied for FRPP by the application deadline of February 28, 2014.  These FRPP applications will be considered under ALE component.  As policy and guidance is released regarding the implementation of the ALE component additional paperwork may be required to facilitate the transition of the 2014 FRPP proposals to the new ACEP-ALE.  A revised application form for the ALE component is under development.

The authority to accept WRP applications expired September 30, 2013.  The 2014 Act authorizes the NRCS to begin accepting applications from landowners for the WRE component of ACEP using the new NRCS-CPA-1200 dated February 2014.  Interested landowners should complete the NRCS-CPA-1200 at their local Service Center.

The 2014 Act 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.  NRCS has the authority to continue to provide on-going technical assistance and expend funds that have already been obligated to FRPP, GRP and WRP contracts, agreements and easements entered into prior to the date of enactment of the 2014 Act.

NRCS will be implementing the 2014 Act as it relates to ACEP in two phases.  Phase 1 addresses ACEP implementation through the end of fiscal year 2014.  Phase 2 includes the standard procedures to develop and publish regulations and policy that will serve for the remainder of the 2014 Act.

Program Contact

Greg Walker, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 919-873-2104

For more information on Easements, Please Visit our NC Easement Page.