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Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component is a voluntary program that provides an opportunity for eligible partners to receive financial assistance to purchase agricultural land easements targeted at working agricultural lands. These perpetual easements 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. Each easement is required to have an agricultural land easement plan that promotes the long-term viability of the land.

Eligible cooperating entities must:

  • Be committed to long-term conservation of agricultural lands
  • Be capable of acquiring, managing, and enforcing easements
  • Have sufficient staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship
  • Have available funds for acquisition, monitoring, and stewardship
  • Be a State or local government, or non-governmental/non-profit organization that has a farmland or grassland protection program

Under the Agricultural Land component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. 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. 

To enroll land through agricultural land easements, NRCS enters into cooperative agreements with eligible partners.NRCS in New Jersey has partnered with the following eligible entities to preserve over 200 agricultural lands in New Jersey through the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP):

How to Apply

Eligible cooperating entities submit application proposals to NRCS to acquire conservation easements on eligible land. Landowners must work with a cooperating entity and do not submit applications directly to NRCS. A partner will need to submit one NRCS-CPA-41 with their application package and one NRCS-CPA-41A for each parcel included in their application package.  For detailed information on the application process, entity application checklists, and parcel application checklists, view the information for entities page.

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted

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