The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Reauthorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, ACEP funds easements for agricultural lands and wetlands.
Approved agricultural easements 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.
Wetland reserve easements restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.
Applications are currently being accepted for wetlands reserve easements and will be rated according to the easement’s potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife.
ACEP applications are accepted on a continual basis. For fiscal year 2020, Texas will evaluate all applications received by April 17. Applications received after that date will be held for consideration in fiscal year 2021.
Since 1995, NRCS conservation easement programs have protected more than 140,000 acres of restored wetlands and working agricultural lands in Texas.
To learn more about ACEP and to find your local USDA Service Center, visit www.farmers.gov.