NRCS Announces Signup for Agricultural Land to Protect Farmland and Wetlands in Rhode Island Through Conservation Easements
Brunilda Velez, Assistant State Conservationist-Programs
WARWICK, RI (May 6, 2014) — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program. Well over $2 million dollars is expected to be available for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands in Rhode Island.
“This is an exciting new opportunity for even more people to get involved in conserving natural resources,” said Rhode Island state conservationist R. Phou Vongkhamdy. “We encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners to contact the NRCS office in Warwick to find out how to apply.”
The ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill, funds easements for agricultural lands and wetland reserves.
Approved agricultural easements would prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food production. Cropland, grassland, pastureland, and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.
Wetland reserve easements would restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.
Applications are currently being accepted for wetlands reserve easements and will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife.
Applications must be submitted to Rhode Island NRCS by June 6, 2014. Applications are available at local USDA Service Center and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Agreements will be evaluated starting in late August.
The ACEP combines NRCS’ former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, Grassland Reserve, and Wetlands Reserve programs.
Learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/farmbill.
To get started with NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted.
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