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News Release

USDA Offers Assistance to Protect Privately-Owned Agricultural Lands

Deena Wheby, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
(859) 224-7403

Lexington, Kentucky, January 25, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to protect agricultural lands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements.

This year, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plans to invest nearly $700 thousand to help private landowners, land trusts and other groups protect these valuable lands in Kentucky.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP - ALE) focuses on protecting and conserving productive agricultural lands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

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 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, pastureland and forestlands. Landowners do not apply directly to NRCS for funding under this program.

Applications from eligible entities for 2021 ACEP-ALE funding must be received by February 26, 2021 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.


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