Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Press Release

Lower Merrimack River Watershed farmers eligible for funding to permanently protect their land

Hay wagons in a field

The Essex County Greenbelt Association is announcing that Essex County, Massachusetts farmland owners in the Lower Merrimack River Watershed are eligible for funding to permanently protect their land through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE).

ESSEX COUNTY, Mass., November 22, 2022 – The Essex County Greenbelt Association is announcing that Essex County, Massachusetts farmland owners in the Lower Merrimack River Watershed are eligible for funding to permanently protect their land through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) administered through the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. Applications are due March 17, 2023.

Just under $1 million in funding is available to conserve farmland and must be spent by August 31, 2024. Made available through the "Saving Farmland in the Lower Merrimack Watershed" Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project, the funding will compensate farmland owners for development rights extinguished through an agricultural conservation easement.

Applications will be ranked according to their contribution to the RCPP goals of protecting farmland, water quality, and wildlife habitat.

For more information, and help submitting an application, contact: Vanessa Johnson-Hall, Essex County Greenbelt, vkjohnson@ecga.org, 978-768-7241, ext. 16.

Essex County Greenbelt is a non-profit, member-supported land conservation organization that protects natural land and working farms across Essex County, Massachusetts.  Since 1961, Greenbelt has conserved over 18,500 acres, and has been directly involved in protecting 75 percent of Essex County land conserved in the last decade.  For more information on our Farmland Conservation Program, visit ecga.org/farmland.

USDA NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Massachusetts to improve and protect soil, water and other natural resources. The agency has offices in USDA Service Centers in Greenfield, Hadley, Holden, Pittsfield, Westford, Wareham and West Yarmouth, which work with local conservation districts and other partners to serve farmers and landowners in their area.

Map of the Lower Merrimack River watershed