Ag News

Georgia NRCS announces sign-up for conservation easements

The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia is accepting enrollment for this year’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). To be considered for the fiscal year 2019 program, applications must be submitted by April 19.

The ACEP, created through the 2014 farm bill and included in the 2018 farm bill, is a program that has two components, known as Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE). For FY 2019 only, NRCS will be operating under 2014 Farm Bill rules. Any changes made in the ACEP program in the 2018 farm bill will begin in FY 2020.

Applications for the ACEP-ALE are accepted from eligible partners. These eligible entities may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire a conservation easement on eligible agricultural land. NRCS does not accept applications for ACEP-ALE directly from producers. Producers will need to work with an eligible entity to pursue funding for an ACEP-ALE conservation easement. Examples of eligible entities include county board of commissioners, land trusts and land conservancies.

Approved ACEP-ALE easements would prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and maximize protection of land devoted to food production. Cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forestland are eligible.

The ACEP-WRE applications are accepted directly from producers on eligible lands. These easements will restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.

To learn more about ACEP and other farm bill programs in Georgia, visit http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov.