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Agricultural Land Easement

Vermont Agricultural Land Easement

Sign up is offered on a continual basis, however, to be considered for funding you must submit an application to your local USDA office by deadlines posted on this web page. 2016 application deadlines will be announced soon. Landowners are still encouraged to apply for program funds as soon as possible.

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit

Entity Eligibility Criteria

Any state or local unit of government, or non-profit organization can apply for ALE funds by demonstrating

  • A commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands
  • A capability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements
  • Sufficient staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship
  • The availability of funds

Selected and Funded Projects

Eligible entities will sign an agreement with NRCS for a period of three years. Within 30 days of agreement signing, the entity will be required to submit a draft easement deed for NRCS approval.

Parcel Eligibility

Eligible land must:

Be privately owned agricultural land and:

  • Contain at least 50% prime, unique, statewide, or locally important farmland;
  • Contains historical or archeological resources;
  • the enrollment of which would protect grazing uses and related conservation values by restoring and conserving land; or 
  • the protection of which will further a State or local policy consistent with the purposes of ACEP; and land that is:
    • cropland;
    • rangeland;
    • grassland or land that contains forbs, or shrub land for which grazing his the predominant use;
    • located in an area that has been historically dominated by grass land, forbs, or shrubs and could provide habitat for animal or plant populations of significant ecological value;
    • pastureland; or
    • nonindustrial private forest land that contributes to the economic viability of an offered parcel or serves as a buffer to protect such land from development

The eligibility of the land and the landowner for each parcel must be established at the time the parcel is submitted for potential funding.

Forest management plans are required on all parcels with forest cover on greater than 20 acres or 20% of the easement area (whichever is greater). If the parcel requires a forest management plan, a certification by the landowner that such a plan will be completed prior to closing is needed.

2016 Program Application Materials for Entities The following documents require Acrobat Reader

Ranking Criteria and Soil Waiver Policy Guidance

Impervious Surface Waiver Information


Vermont ACEP-ALE Contact

Jim Eikenberry
Phone: 802-951-6796 ext. 239

National ACEP-ALE Information