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Overview - ACEP-ALE

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The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits..  Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.  Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.

Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)

Purpose

What's New in ACEP?

ACEP is a new program that consolidates three former programs – the Wetlands Reserve Program, Grassland Reserve Program and Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program.

Transition to ACEP Webinar on YouTube (opens in new window)

https://youtu.be/9gDYYJ0IzIQ

Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Interim Final Rule - Comments 

View and comment on the ACEP Interim Final Rule on the Regulations.gov website offsite link image    

A summary of the changes is on the NRCS Farm Bill Rules page.

Other Documents

Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses.  Land protected by agricultural land easements provides additional public benefits, including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space.

Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance (ALE-GSS)

Protect the long term grazing uses and related conservation values on eligible private range and pasture lands.  The program emphasizes support of grazing operations, maintaining and improving plant and animal biodiversity, and protecting grasslands and shrublands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other non-grazing uses.

Benefits

NRCS provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. The program also protects grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving grassland, including rangeland, pastureland and shrubland.  Eligible partners include Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs.  

Under the Agricultural Land Easement component, NRCS may contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.  Where NRCS determines that grasslands of special environmental significance will be protected, NRCS may contribute up to 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.

Eligibility

Land eligible for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forest land. NRCS will prioritize applications that protect agricultural uses and related conservation values of the land and those that maximize the protection of contiguous acres devoted to agricultural use.

ACEP-ALE Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance:  Under ACEP, provisions were included to provide an increased Federal share under ACEP-ALE for enrollment of Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance(GSS).  

How to Apply

To enroll land through Agricultural Land Easements (ALE), eligible partners may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire conservation easements on eligible land.

To Apply for Agricultural Land Easements in Arizona, submit an ACEP-ALE application package: 

Please see ACEP-ALE supporting documents for more information:

To enroll land through agricultural land easements, eligible partners may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire conservation easements on eligible lands.

Supporting documentation must be submitted with the application in order to determine eligibility. 

Reminders

  • All 1st round application packages are due to the Arizona State Office by November 3, 2017.
  •  Round 2 deadline TBD

Submit complete application packets to:

USDA-NRCS Arizona State Office
ATTN: Scott Morton
230 North First Avenue
Suite 509
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Ranking

ACEP-ALE and ACEP-ALE-GSS will be ranked with the same criteria.

More Information

ACEP Fact Sheet (PDF, 1.2MB)

To learn how to get started with NRCS, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/getstarted

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Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) points of contact

Name
Position
Office Phone
Email Address
Emily Fife
Assistant State Conservationist/ Programs
602-280-8800
Scott Morton
Easement Coordinator
602-280-8823
 

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