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News Release

Ensure the Future of Agriculture with ACEP-ALE

Gail Bartok

SOMERSET, N.J., Jan. 24, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Applications that meet eligibility and ranking criteria for ACEP - ALE received by February 28, will be considered for funding.

ACEP helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect grasslands and working farms and ranches in perpetuity.

Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps protect working agricultural lands and limits non-agricultural uses to protect the long-term viability of the nation's food while supporting environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open space. This component is also available for grasslands of special environmental significance, or high-quality grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other non-grazing uses.

Landowners interested in ACEP- ALE must work with a cooperating entity who will submit the required application materials. NRCS does not accept applications directly from producers. State and local governments, non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs, and several New Jersey land trusts are eligible to help interested landowners apply.

To apply for ACEP-ALE, or for more information, please contact Gail Bartok, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, at 732-537-6042 or Lauren Lapczynski, Easement Specialist, at 732-537-6046.

NRCS accepts applications for conservation programs year-round and they’re processed when funding becomes available. Interested producers can learn more about New Jersey Farm Bill programs on the NRCS NJ website.