NRCS announces sign up for conservation easements
Barbara Phillips, Public Affairs Specialist
Applications for new Farm Bill program due May 30, 2014
SOMERSET, May 2, 2014– USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for the new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) to purchase conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands in New Jersey. “This program is a great opportunity to work with private landowners and entities to preserve New Jersey farmland, restore wetlands and conserve natural resources for years to come,” said New Jersey State Conservationist Carrie Mosley.
ACEP consolidates the purposes of the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, the Grassland Reserve, and the Wetlands Reserve programs formerly offered by NRCS to streamline the acquisition process for conservation easements. ACEP is comprised of two components, the agricultural land easement and the wetland reserve easement.
Through the agricultural land easement component, funds are provided to eligible entities to purchase agricultural land easements that prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food production. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forestland.
Through the wetland reserve easement component, NRCS works directly with private landowners to restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.
Applications are now being accepted for both components of ACEP from eligible entities and private landowners. Applications must be submitted by May 30, 2014 to be considered for this fiscal year. Applications are available at your local USDA Service Center and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.
Learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/farmbill.