Financial, technical assistance to conserve and protect our lands here in North Carolina.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in North Carolina reminds landowners that in order to be considered for the fiscal year 2022 funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), applications must be submitted by November 18th, 2022. Landowners must file for eligibility with Farm Service Agency by Dec 9th.
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).
Applications for the ACEP-ALE are accepted from eligible partners. 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 county Board of Commissioners, land trusts and land conservancies.
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 rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife.
Applications for ACEP are encouraged to be submitted year-round. However, NRCS will establish specific dates that applications will be considered for potential financial assistance. All applications must be submitted to North Carolina NRCS by November 18, 2022, for both ACEP-ALE and ACEP-WRE for current available funding considerations. If you have questions, please contact Brian.Loadholt@usda.gov. USDA service center locations are listed at http://offices.usda.gov.
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