USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program. Funds will be available for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands in Wisconsin.
"This is an exciting new opportunity for more people to get involved in conserving natural resources through easements," said Wisconsin State Conservationist Jimmy Bramblett. "We encourage state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, tribal organizations, and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply."
The ACEP, created through the 2014 Farm Bill, funds easements for agricultural lands and for wetland reserves.
Approved agricultural easements would 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 would 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.
Applications must be submitted to Wisconsin NRCS by June 6. Applications are available at local USDA Service Center and at www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Applications will be evaluated starting in late June.
The ACEP combines NRCS' former Farm and Ranch Lands Protection, Grassland Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs.
Learn more about ACEP and other Farm Bill programs at www.nrcs.usda.gov/farmbill.
To get started with NRCS, visit the local USDA Service Center or www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Learn more about the Farm Bill at www.nrcs.usda.gov/FarmBill.