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News Release

USDA Offers Assistance to Protect Agricultural Lands

EAST LANSING, Jan. 2, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages groups wanting to protect agricultural lands to consider enrolling in its Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide technical and financial assistance to help tribes, land trusts, and other groups protect these valuable lands. Agricultural land easements purchased through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program focuses on conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

“Protecting these lands preserves Michigan’s heritage, natural resources and open space,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Garry Lee. “Easements are also important tools for people who are trying to improve the management of their land.”

Applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program are taken on a continuous basis and are ranked and considered for funding several times per year. The next deadline is Feb. 16, 2018. The 2014 Farm Bill created the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, merging together several easement programs into one. In the last year, easements have protected 1,443 acres in the state and nearly 300,000 acres nationwide.

Individuals interested in enrolling land in an agricultural land easement should contact their local farmland preservation organizations. Land preservation organizations interested in agricultural easements should contact their local USDA service center.