The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Alabama wants to remind farmers, ranchers and private landowners the sign-up deadline to apply for financial and technical assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP) is Friday, March 17.
Funding for ACEP, through the 2023 Inflation Reduction Act, includes both the Agricultural Land (ALE) and Wetland Reserve (WRE) easement. And while NRCS accepts these applications throughout the year, funding selections are made at specific times during the fiscal year.
This sign-up for ACEP funds can be used for easements or interests in land that will most reduce, capture, avoid, or sequester carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide emissions associated with land eligible for the program. NRCS is encouraging Alabama producers and private landowners to submit their applications as soon as possible because funding is limited. NRCS provided over $1 million in ACEP-WRE funding to eligible Alabama farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, and private landowners in fiscal year 2022.
The two ACEP-WRE priority areas for this specific sign-up identify regions with soils high in organic carbon. These soils have a high nutrient content and available water capacity, the highest soil carbon sequestration potential, and are a priority for wetland restoration as a climate strategy for greenhouse gas mitigation.
The ACEP-ALE priority areas for this sign-up identify funding targets for grassland conversion to non-grassland and agricultural use. The framework for the grasslands biome prioritizes critically important grasslands that can help sequester carbon and prevent increased greenhouse gas emissions by protecting the grassland from cropland conversion.
To learn more this ACEP sign-up, visit NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.