Georgia NRCS is seeking applications from eligible landowners and entities who are seeking to enroll their agricultural or wetland property in a conservation easement.
Release No.: 012.23
ATHENS, GA, August 24, 2023 — State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph, for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia, today announced a sign-up for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) for fiscal year 2024. To be considered for the upcoming fiscal year’s funding pool, applications must be submitted by October 6, 2023.
The ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, is a program that has two components, known as Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE).
“ACEP is a great way for landowners and eligible entities to conserve, restore and protect our nation’s wetlands, productive agricultural lands and grasslands,” said Rudolph. “NRCS is proud to work alongside our customers that have allowed us to become the largest easement holder and steward in the nation.”
ACEP-WRE applications are accepted directly from producers on eligible lands. These easements will restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed, prior converted or forested wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. Applications will be ranked according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish, and other wildlife.
Applications for the ACEP-ALE are accepted from eligible entities only. These eligible entities may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire a conservation easement on eligible agricultural land. NRCS does not accept applications for ACEP-ALE directly from producers. Producers will need to work with an eligible entity to pursue funding for an ACEP-ALE conservation easement. Some examples of eligible entities include Land Trusts and Land Conservancies. Land types that could be eligible for ACEP-ALE include cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland with prime and statewide important soils.
All applications must be submitted to Georgia NRCS by October 6, 2023, for both ACEP-ALE (from the eligible entity) and ACEP-WRE (from producers with eligible wetlands). Conservation program applications are available at your local USDA Service Center and at our Application and Forms web page.
NRCS provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, maintain and improve our natural resources and environment. More information on NRCS conservation programs can be found at https://www.farmers.gov/ or https://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.