The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Terrance O. Rudolph, for Georgia announced a sign-up for this year’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) Oct. 3. To be considered for the fiscal year 2015 program, applications must be submitted by December 18, 2014.
ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill, is a program that has two components, known as Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE). ACEP combines NRCS’ former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).
The ACEP-WRE applications are accepted directly from producers on eligible lands. These easements would restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted 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.
Applications must be submitted to Georgia NRCS by December 18, 2014 for both ACEP-ALE and ACEP-WRE. Applications are available at your local USDA Service Center and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. You can learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs in Georgia at http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov.