Conservation Matters May 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

NRCS accepting agricultural land, wetland conservation easement applications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture–Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP).

“This is an exciting new opportunity for even more people to get involved in conserving natural resources,” said Texas State Conservationist Salvador Salinas.

Created through the 2014 Farm Bill, ACEP funds easements for agricultural lands and 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, according to NRCS. 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 Texas NRCS by June 6 and are available at local USDA service centers or at Agreements will be evaluated starting in late August.

Read the full NRCS news release for more information. 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

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