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News Release

Funding Available to Protect Maryland Wetlands and Family Farms

Annapolis, Md., January 13, 2021 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maryland is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). The 2018 Farm Bill has provided NRCS with technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, land trusts, state and local governments, and other groups protect valuable lands.

ACEP focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. The Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) component provides landowners compensation for enrolling their farmed or converted wetlands in easements and restoring the land in a cost-effective manner. The Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component works with eligible partners to prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food production.

ACEP applications may be submitted at any time to NRCS; however, applications for the current funding round must be submitted on or before March 5, 2021. Applications are available at your local USDA Service Center and at

“Conservation easements help farmers protect valuable agricultural lands from development or protect and restore previously drained wetlands to their natural conditions,” NRCS Maryland easement program manager M. Tiffany Davis said. “These easements are improving wildlife habitat and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.”

Learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at 

To get started with NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or