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NRCS to Provide $3.9 Million to Protect and Restore Important Land Uses

Agricultural Conservation Easement ProgramSyracuse, New York December 2016 - Private landowners, American Indian tribes and eligible entities are encouraged to apply by January 31, 2017 for the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) components of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). The Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) component of the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) will have two application filing deadlines, January 31, 2017 and February 24, 2017.

United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New York is making available up to $3,978,708 in financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).

“Conservation easements are an important tool to help eligible landowners and partners voluntarily provide long-term protection of our nation’s farmland, ranchland, wetlands and grasslands for future generations,” Gregory A Kist, State Conservationist for New York, said. “NRCS helps farmers, ranchers, private forest landowners and partners achieve their conservation goals using our technical expertise, Farm Bill funding and sound conservation planning.”

NRCS in New York obligated $3.2 million in ACEP funding to enroll an estimated 970 acres of farmland, ranchland, grassland and wetlands through ten new easement applications in fiscal year 2016.

Wetland Reserve Easements allow landowners to successfully restore and protect habitat for wildlife on their eligible lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through the purchase of these easements. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement; tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts.

Agricultural Land Easements allow eligible farmers and ranchers to work with eligible partners to enroll productive farmland and “grasslands of special environmental significance” into ALE. American Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to submit applications and partner with NRCS to purchase permanent conservation easements. ACEP’s Agricultural Land Easements not only protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses, but they also support environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open spaces.

While ACEP applications may be submitted to NRCS at any time, ACEPWRE applications for the current funding round must be submitted by January 31, 2017. Applications for ACEP – ALE must be submitted by an eligible partner by either January 31 or February 24, 2017.

WRE applications are available at local USDA Service Centers.

Application materials for ACEP-ALE may be found on the NRCS-New York ACEP webpage.

To learn more about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit the NRCS-New York ACEP webpage.

How to Get AssistanceLearn how to get started with NRCS.

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