LEXINGTON, Ky. — United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Kentucky is making available up to $2.4 million in financial assistance through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE).
“NRCS helps farmers, ranchers, private forest landowners and partners to achieve their conservation goals using our technical expertise, Farm Bill funding and sound conservation planning,” Kentucky NRCS State Conservationist Karen Woodrich said. “Conservation easements are an important tool to help these landowners and partners voluntarily provide long-term protection of our nation’s farmland for future generations.”
In fiscal year 2016, NRCS in Kentucky used more than $2.3 million in ACEP agricultural land easements funding to enroll over 1,300 acres of farmland through 11 new easements.
ACEP’s agricultural land easements not only protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses, but they also support environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open spaces. State and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with NRCS to purchase conservation easements. A key change under the new agricultural land easement component is the new “grasslands of special environmental significance” that will protect high-quality grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development and other non-grazing uses. ACEP-ALE differs from other easement programs, in that NRCS works through a cooperating entity, rather than directly with landowners.
ACEP applications can be submitted to NRCS by eligible entities at any time; however, agricultural land easement applications for the current funding round must be submitted by March 15, 2017. For this program, NRCS does not accept applications directly from individual landowners.
To learn more about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through NRCS conservation programs, visit www.ky.nrcs.usda.gov.
— USDA NRCS
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