The Agricultural Act of 2014 establishes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
It 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 on February 7, 2014 or any associated payments required to be made in connection with an existing FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement.
A Permanent Easement is a conservation easement in perpetuity. USDA pays 100 percent of the easement value and up to 100 percent of the restoration costs.
A 30-Year Easement is an easement that expires after 30 years. USDA pays up to 75 percent of the easement value and up to 75 percent of the restoration costs.
A Restoration Cost-Share Agreement is an agreement to restore or enhance the wetland functions and values without placing an easement on the enrolled acres. USDA pays up to 75 percent of the restoration costs and the landowner agrees to maintain the restored wetland for a period of at least 10 years after restoration is complete. This option has a $50,000 per year payment cap.
For both permanent and 30-year easements, USDA pays all costs associated with recording the easement, including recording fees, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance.
For the easement value, USDA will pay the lowest of:
- the fair market value of the land according to the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practices;
- the geographic area rate cap (typically 80-90 percent of the fair market value, depending on location and land use);