Utah NRCS accepting applications for ag land and wetland conservation easements
Jeff Williams, NRCS Easement Program Specialist, 801-524-4254, email@example.com
Batching period for new Easement Program ends June 6
Salt Lake City, UT, May 2, 2014 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). Federal funding will now be available for the purchase of a limited number of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands in Utah.
“This is an exciting new opportunity for even more people to get involved in conserving natural resources and protecting our valuable agricultural lands,” said NRCS State Conservationist Dave Brown. “We encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply.”
The ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill, funds easements for both agricultural lands and wetlands.
Approved agricultural land easements would prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food production. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible for enrollment. Applications for this portion of the program must come from entities legally capable of acquiring and holding conservation easements such as land trusts, other types of private organizations or units of government with similar authority. Private landowners do not apply directly to NRCS but instead need to work through an eligible entity.
Wetland reserve easements would restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and costeffectively restored. Under this portion of the program private landowners and Indian tribes do apply directly to the NRCS.
Applications are currently being accepted for agriculture and wetlands reserve easements and will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife and will be rated according to the easement’s potential for meeting national and state level program objectives.
Applications are accepted on a continuous basis however to be considered for FY2014 funding, they must be submitted to Utah NRCS by June 6, 2014. Applications are available at local USDA Service Centers and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Submit applications for agricultural land easements directly to the NRCS state office in care of NRCS Easements Program Specialist Jeff Williams, 125 S. State St., Room 4010, Salt Lake City, UT 84138; (801) 524-4254. Applications for wetland reserve easements should be submitted directly to the local USDA Service Center. Agreements will be evaluated starting in June.
The ACEP combines NRCS’ former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, Grassland Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs.
Local information meetings scheduled.
Utah entities and individuals can attened one of two public easement information meetings scheduled this month.
Wednesday, May 14, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge
2155 West Forest St.
Thursday, May 15, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
USDA-NRCS Service Center
340 North 600 East
You can also learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/farmbill.
To get started with NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Learn more about the Farm Bill at www.nrcs.usda.gov/FarmBill.
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