USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Alabama reminds farmers, ranchers and private landowners that Friday, March 17 is the deadline to apply for financial and technical assistance for 2023 Inflation Reduction Act funding through the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP). This includes both the Agricultural Land (ALE) and Wetland Reserve (WRE) easement sign-up. While NRCS does accept ACEP-ALE and ACEP-WRE applications throughout the year, they make funding selections at specific times during the fiscal year.
The Inflation Reduction Act (ACT) passed by Congress authorized the use of ACEP funds 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. The IRA funds used for ACEP must be used in agreements implemented, executed, closed, and paid prior to September 30, 2031. 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 identify regions with soils high in organic carbon. The ACEP-ALE priority areas identify funding targets for grassland conversion to non-grassland and agricultural use. To learn more about financial and technical assistance available, visit your local NRCS office.