The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2017 funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).  ACEP is a program made available to landowners by the 2014 Farm Bill.

ACEP has three distinct components: 1) General ACEP – Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) to protect agricultural use and related conservation values by limiting non-agricultural uses of the land with a conservation easement; and 2) ACEP – Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) Grasslands of Special Environment Significance, and 3) ACEP – Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a wetland reserve easement.

Landowners interested in ACEP-ALE and ACEP-ALE Grasslands can only participate in the program by working through an eligible nongovernmental organization, State, Tribal, or local government that has an existing farmland or ranchland protection program.  The eligible nongovernmental organization, State, Tribal, or local government then submits ACEP proposals to the NRCS State Conservationist.

For general agricultural land enrollments, participating organizations are required to hold the easement and provide for at least 50 percent matching funds. Participating organization must provide a minimum of 50 percent in matching funds, with NRCS contribution not to exceed 50 percent of the conservation easements fair market value determined by an appraisal of the property offered for the program.

Applications are accepted on a continual basis; however, the deadline to submit applications for both ACEP-ALE and ACEP-WRE to be considered for first batch of FY 2017 funding is January 15, 2017.  Applications received after that date will be accepted and considered when, and if, funds become available.

For more information, please contact the Ely NRCS Field Service Center District Conservationist, Cory Lytle at 744 North Industrial Way, Ely NV 775-289-4065 x 105 or Gary L. Roeder, Assistant State Conservationist – Programs at 775-857-8500 extension 103.