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USDA Offers Funding to Protect Agricultural Lands

Applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program are taken on a continuous basis. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 7, 2022
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Farmland enrolled in a conservation easement in Charlevoix County.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, provides matching funds for farmland preservation entities to purchase permanent easements.

EAST LANSING, Oct. 6, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages groups wanting to protect agricultural land to consider enrolling in its Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. 

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, provides matching funds for farmland preservation entities to purchase permanent easements. Land enrolled in an agricultural land easement is permanently protected from conversion to non-agricultural use. Applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program are taken on a continuous basis. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 7, 2022, to be eligible for the current round of funding.

“Protecting agricultural lands preserves Michigan’s heritage, natural resources and open space,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Garry Lee. “Easements are also important tools for people who are trying to improve the management of their land.”

Entities eligible to receive matching funds through the program include American Indian tribes, land trusts, state and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations. Agricultural land easements purchased through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program focus on conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. The USDA can contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

Individuals interested in enrolling land in an agricultural land easement should contact their local farmland preservation organization. Land preservation organizations interested in agricultural easements funding should contact their local USDA Service Center.