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News Release

NRCS Oregon awarded $6,765,000 after record number of ACEP-ALE applications

Release No.: 2022-05-002
 Contact: Chris Chapa
503-414-3248
Chris.Chapa@usda.gov

NRCS Oregon awarded $6,765,000 after record number of ACEP-ALE applications

Portland, Ore., May 9, 2022 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded NRCS Oregon $6,765,000 for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE). The program helps landowners protect their working lands.

In 2022, four entities representing eight landowners applied to the ACEP-ALE program. After seeing this significant interest, NRCS Oregon requested additional funds over their initial request of $590,060 to meet the high demand. These funds will allow landowners to protect 14,917 acres of farm and ranch land across the state.

This federal funding matches newly appropriated state funds from the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program (OAHP), multiplying conservation benefits resulting from agricultural land easements. The OAHP program provides voluntary incentives to farmers and ranchers to support practices that maintain or enhance both agriculture and natural resources such as fish and wildlife on agricultural lands.

“The interest we’ve seen in the Agricultural Land Easements program so far this year reflects the growing number of landowners who want to protect their agricultural land for generations to come,” said Ron Alvarado, NRCS Oregon State Conservationist. “In partnership with the state of Oregon’s Agricultural Heritage Program, we hope to help farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture forever.”

About the ACEP-ALE program

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) helps landowners, land trusts and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements. These programs benefit participants and the American public by creating cleaner air, water and open spaces.

The Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component of ACEP helps landowners protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing land use changes of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. ACEP-ALE has been crucial to protecting rangelands and farmsteads from urban encroachment, ensuring the most productive lands remain working lands.

Easements can be used to protect floodplains, grasslands and forests, providing public benefits, including carbon sequestration, water quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space. Easements across the nation have contributed to the restoration of the Southeast’s unique but rare longleaf pine forests and to the protection of animals like the Greater Sage-Grouse.

Enroll in Agricultural Land Easements

Farmers, ranchers and private foresters looking to enroll farmland or grasslands in a conservation easement may submit proposals to the NRCS state office to acquire conservation easements on eligible land.

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