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USDA Announces $350 Million for Conservation Easements Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $350 million in funding available to help protect and restore grasslands, wetlands, and working lands through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).  The ACEP was created by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect critical water resources (including drinking water) and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for farming and ranching.  States, tribes, local governments, and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with NRCS to purchase conservation easements through this program.  In FY 2014 and FY 2015, NRCS invested more than $600 million in ACEP funding to help landowners engage in voluntary conservation to provide long-term protection of an estimated 250,000 acres of farmland, grassland, and wetlands through more than 750 new easements.

To learn about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit  www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted or your local USDA Service Center.  For questions, please contact Ciji Taylor of USDA at ciji.taylor@wdc.usda.gov or 618-315-0876.