The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia reminds landowners that in order to be considered for the fiscal year 2020 funding pool for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), applications must be submitted by March 31, 2020.
The ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill and reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, is a program that has two components, known as Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE).
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, prior converted or forested wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. Applications will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife.
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. Some examples of eligible entities include county Board of Commissioners, Land Trusts and Land Conservancies.
All applications must be submitted to Georgia NRCS by March 31, 2020 for both ACEP-ALE and ACEP-WRE. Conservation program applications are available through your local USDA Service Center.