NRCS Accepting Applications For Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Montana is accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Agricultural Land Easement enrollment option and the Wetland Reserve Easements.
While NRCS accepts easement applications year-round, applications for the current funding cycle must be submitted by Dec. 30.
“Agricultural Land Easements are one of the many tools available to landowners for the long-term protection of working lands which build sustainable agriculture, manage future development or protect critical habitat for wildlife,” said Justin Meissner, NRCS assistant state conservationist for easement programs in Montana. ACEP-ALE provides financial assistance to eligible entities, including land trusts and state and local units of government, for purchasing easements that protect the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land by limiting non-agricultural uses of the land. In the case of working farms, the program helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. Landowners interested in an ACEPALE easement must enter into an agreement with an eligible entity to be considered for enrollment into the program. Find a list of entities eligible to hold ACEP-ALE easements in Montana and additional information at www.nrcs.usda. gov/montana by clicking on the ACEP option under State Programs and Initiatives.
“Easements are sometimes a perfect fit for a landowner who is looking to protect and improve wetlands or provide critical habitat for wildlife,” said Meissner.
ACEP helps producers enroll wetlands, grasslands and farmlands into easements for long-term protection. ACEPWRE specifically allows landowners to successfully restore, enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30year contracts.
Ranking dates for all programs and states are available at nrcs.usda.gov/staterankingdates. Applications received after ranking dates will be automatically deferred to the next funding period.
To learn about ACEP opportunities and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS, visit your local USDA Service Center or www.nrcs.usda.gov/montana. Find NRCS contact information at www.nrcs.usda.gov/ contact.