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March 18, 2019 - USDA Offers Assistance to Protect Privately-Owned Agricultural Lands and Grasslands

USDA Offers Assistance to Protect Privately-Owned Agricultural Lands and Grasslands

 

Lexington, Kentucky, March 18, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to protect agricultural lands and grasslands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP - ALE) focuses on protecting and conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.  The program is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Through ACEP agricultural land easements, NRCS provides funds to conservation partners to purchase conservation easements on private working lands. This program helps keep working lands working, especially in areas experiencing development pressure.

Partners include state or local agencies, tribes, and certain non-profits. Landowners continue to own their property but voluntarily enter into a legal agreement with a cooperating entity to purchase an easement.  The cooperating entity applies for matching funds from NRCS for the purchase of an easement from the landowner, permanently protecting its agricultural use and conservation values.  Eligible lands include privately owned cropland, grassland, pastureland and forestlands.  Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program.

Applications from eligible entities for 2019 ACEP-ALE funding must be received by April 19, 2019 to be considered for the current funding cycle. Landowners who wish to be considered for ACEP-ALE must make application to an eligible entity. Entities interested in agricultural easements should contact their local USDA service center or visit the Kentucky NRCS ACEP-ALE website..