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Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

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The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. There are two components to this program: Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).

Agricultural Land Easements

NRCS provides financial assistance to partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements that protect the 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 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.

Forms
Entity Application (PDF)
Parcel Sheet for Entity Application (PDF)
Application Checklist (PDF)
ALE Landowner Guide (PDF)
ALE Ranking Sheet (PDF)
Minimum Deed Terms (PDF)
General Cooperative Agreement (DOC)
Grassland Cooperative Agreement (DOC)
ALE Timeline for Approved Applications (PDF)

Contact Roney Gutierrez, 352-338-9502, for Agricultural Land Easement information. 

Wetland Reserve Easements

NRCS also provides technical and financial assistance directly to private landowners and Indian tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a wetland reserve easement.  For acreage owned by an Indian tribe, there is an additional enrollment option of a 30-year contract. Through the wetland reserve enrollment options, NRCS may enroll eligible land through:  

Permanent Easements – Permanent easements are conservation easements in perpetuity. NRCS pays 100 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement.  Additionally, NRCS pays between 75 to 100 percent of the restoration costs.

30-year Easements – 30-year easements expire after 30 years. Under 30-year easements, NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the easement.  Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs. 

Term Easements - Term easements are easements that are for the maximum duration allowed under applicable state laws. NRCS pays 50 to 75 percent of the easement value for the purchase of the term easement. Additionally, NRCS pays between 50 to 75 percent of the restoration costs.

30-year Contracts – 30-year contracts are only available to enroll acreage owned by Indian tribes, and program payment rates are commensurate with 30-year easements.

For wetland reserve easements, NRCS pays all costs associated with recording the easement in the local land records office, including recording fees, charges for abstracts, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance.

Learn More
Landowners Guide to Wetland Reserve Easements (PDF)

Forms
WRE Application (PDF)
WRE Ranking Sheet (PDF)
WRE Geographic Area Caps (PDF)

Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership

The 2014 Farm Bill replaced the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program with the Wetland Reserve Enhancement Partnership as an enrollment option. In this program, NRCS signs agreements with eligible partners to leverage resources for high priority wetland protection, restoration and enhancement and to improve wildlife habitat.

Partner benefits through WREP agreements include:

  • Wetland restoration and protection in critical areas
  • Ability to cost-share restoration or enhancement beyond NRCS requirements through leveraging
  • Able to participate in the management or monitoring of selected project locations
  • Ability to use innovative restoration methods and practices

Contact Crenel Francis, 352-338-9508, for Wetland Reserve Easement information.

Background

The Agricultural Act of 2014 establishes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). It repeals FRPP, GRP and WRP but does not affect the validity or terms of any FRPP, GRP or WRP contract, agreement or easement entered into prior to the date of enactment on Feb. 7, 2014, or any associated payments required to be made in connection with an existing FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement.

For more information see the national ACEP webpage.


Program Contact
Roney Gutierrez, state easement programs, 352-338-9502.