The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands. There are two program components under ACEP, the Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) component and the Wetlands Reserve Easement (WRE) component.
Under the ALE component, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) helps Indian tribes, State and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.
Under the WRE component, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.
Land eligible for agricultural easements includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forest land. NRCS will prioritize applications that protect agricultural uses and related conservation values of the land and those that maximize the protection of contiguous acres devoted to agricultural use.
Land eligible for wetland reserve easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored. NRCS will prioritize applications based the easement's potential for protecting and enhancing habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
To enroll land through agricultural land easements, eligible partners may submit proposals to NRCS to acquire conservation easements on eligible land.
To enroll land through wetland reserve easements, landowners may apply at any time at the local USDA Service Center.
To get started with NRCS, please visit their Steps to Assistance website.