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Agricultural Land Easements (ALE)

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NEXT APPLICATION DEADLINE: March 1, 2018


Landowners and entities interested in applying for a conservation easement can submit applications any time; however, NRCS announces application cut-off dates throughout the year. The next application deadline for the 2018 ACEP is December 8, 2017.

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 ALE 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. The applicant will need to describe how the grassland offered for enrollment fits the definition of Grassland of Special Environmental Significance (ALE-GSS). Easement values for ALE are based on a fair market appraisal.

Land eligible for agricultural easements 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.

To enroll land through Agricultural Land Easements, NRCS enters into cooperative agreements with eligible partners (tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations that have farm or grassland protection programs). Each easement is required to have an agricultural land easement plan that promotes the long-term viability of the land.

Matching Contributions and Waiver Information

NRCS can partner with a Cooperating Entity to contribute up to 50 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement. The Cooperating Entity must provide an amount that is at least equivalent to the Federal share. A Cooperating Entity may include as part of its share a qualified conservation contribution (donation) from the landowner if the entity contributes its own cash resources in an amount that is at least 50 percent of the Federal share.  Under no circumstances may the eligible entity acquire its minimum cash contribution through additional cash contributions, payments, fees or loans paid by the landowner.

ACEP-ALE authorizes two exceptions under which a waiver may be granted by NRCS to:

  1. Increase the cost-share amount for Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance.  Where NRCS determines that Grasslands of Special Environmental Significance will be protected and a waiver to increase the NRCS contribution has been requested, NRCS may contribute up to 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.
  2. Reduce the cash contribution from the Cooperating Entity for projects of special significance.

For more information on matching contributions and waiver requirements, see the .pdf document below:

How to Apply

To enroll agricultural land easements, eligible partners must submit the respective applications listed below to the NRCS Oregon State Office.

Attention: Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
United States Dept of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1201 Lloyd Blvd, Suite 900
Portland, Oregon 97232

Application Forms & Supplemental Information

These documents require Acrobat Reader    

Landowner Eligibility Documentation

Supplemental Information

Contact

Loren F. Unruh, Assistant State Conservationist - Programs
Phone: 503-414-3235
Email: loren.unruh@or.usda.gov

Bari Williams, Easement Programs Specialist
Phone: 503-414-3226
Email: bari.williams@or.usda.gov

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