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Agricultural Land Easements - Idaho

ACEP
Apply by: January 13, 2023

NRCS provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing perpetual Agricultural Land Easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture.

The program also protects grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and shrubland. Eligible partners include American Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland, rangeland, or grassland protection programs.

Under the Agricultural Land Easement component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. Where NRCS determines that grasslands of special environmental significance will be protected, NRCS may contribute up to 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.

Eligibility

Land eligible for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forest land. NRCS will prioritize applications that protect agricultural uses and related conservation values of the land and those that maximize the protection of contiguous acres devoted to agricultural use. To enroll land through agricultural land easements, NRCS enters into cooperative agreements with eligible partners.

All landowners of land being offered for ALE, and entity members down to the individuals, must meet the Adjusted Gross Income, Highly Erodible Land, and Wetland Conservation Compliance requirements and establish farm records with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) by the application deadline. A copy of the current deed showing ownership must also be provided to FSA. Landowners that are corporations, trusts or other entities should consult with FSA on the forms that are required for the entity and members of the entity.

Landowners - How to Apply

To enroll land through the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) Program, landowners must find an eligible partner to submit proposals to NRCS to be considered for a conservation easement on eligible land. Entities interested in using conservation easements to address natural resource concerns can submit applications at any time, although signup is continuous, funding selections are made at specific times during the fiscal year. Click here offsite link image     to find a land trust near you!

Entities - How to Apply

To offer land for enrollment in an agricultural land easement (ALE) easement, eligible entities must submit the respective application documents listed below to the NRCS Idaho State Office by 4:00PM MST on January 14, 2022. Application submittals via email is preferred during COVID-19 restrictions. Submit application package as separate documents (not combined into one PDF or links to digital file boxes.) Please email individual form attachments to diane.french@usda.gov and obtain a confirmation of receipt. Application materials may also be mailed to:

USDA-NRCS IDAHO
Attention: Easement Programs
9173 W. Barnes Dr., Ste C
Boise, ID 83709

Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW)

Under ACEP-ALE, provisions were included to provide an increased Federal share for enrollment of Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance (GSS) that protects the long-term grazing uses and related conservation values on eligible private range and pasture lands. The program emphasizes support of grazing operations, maintaining, and improving plant and animal biodiversity, and protecting grasslands and shrublands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other non-grazing uses. Conservation easements can support the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) by keeping working lands working as intact range. If you have property that lies within one of the Sage Grouse core areas it may, as a grassland of special environmental significance, qualify for the higher NRCS contribution of up to 75 percent. 

Ranking Process

The State Conservationist, in consultation with the State Technical Committee has developed ranking criteria to prioritize and subsequently fund applications addressing priority natural resource concerns in Idaho. NRCS uses the Conservation Assessment Ranking Tool (CART) to assess the site vulnerability, existing conditions, and identify potential resource concerns on a unit of land. After the CART assessment is completed, NRCS uses CART Ranking to evaluate an application in all applicable ranking pools. ACEP-ALE and ACEP-ALE-GSS applications will be ranked with the same criteria.

ACEP-ALE Forms & Documents for Entities

Entity applicant and all landowners on deed must have all FSA eligibility paperwork completed prior to signup deadline. Contact local FSA office to obtain and file FSA eligibility forms.

Additional Information


Idaho Easement Coordinators

Tracie O'Neill                                          Chris Chapa
Phone: (208) 715-3115                        Phone: (208) 267-2707, ext. 111
Email: tracie.oneill@usda.gov          Email: chris.chapa@usda.gov

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm tract number.

If you don’t have a farm tract number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm tract number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.