NRCS Announce Second Application Period for Easement Program

Agriculture - Image of Wheat
Published Friday, February 26, 2016

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado announced a second opportunity for landowners to participate in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program - Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE). Application packages are due on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 by 4:00 p.m. for funding consideration. 

  "Agricultural land easements offer a solution for addressing threats facing at-risk species and rangelands", said Clint Evans, State Conservationist for NRCS in Colorado.  "This program enables working lands to remain intact in perpetuity protecting grazing uses and related conservation values."

To participate in the ACEP-ALE program, landowners must agree to limit the use of their land for non-agricultural purposes and to develop and implement a conservation plan if they have fields designated as 'Highly Erodible Land.' The farm or ranch land must contain productive soils or historic archaeological sites, or support a state or local program policy.

Applicants (eligible entities) must be a federally recognized Indian Tribe, state or local units of government, or a non-governmental organization. Applicants must have an established farmland protection program that purchases agricultural conservation easements for the purpose of protecting agriculture use and related conservation values by limiting conversion to nonagricultural uses of the land.

To be eligible to receive ACEP-ALE funding, applicants must demonstrate a commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands; a capability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements; a sufficient number of staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship; and the availability of funds. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement in this voluntary program. The landowner retains ownership and continues to use the land for agricultural purposes.

Application documents and forms can be found by clicking here and scrolling down to FY16 ACEP - ALE Application Documents and Forms. Completed application packets should be emailed to David Colburn at david.colburn@co.usda.gov  or mailed to him at the following address: David Colburn, Easements Coordinator, USDA-NRCS, Denver Federal Center, Building 56, Room 2604, Denver, CO 80225. The deadline to submit the application packet is Wednesday, March 9, 2016 by 4:00 p.m.  Postmarked applications sent via mail WILL NOT be accepted.

For more information about ACEP-ALE, please contact Colburn at 720-544-2820.  You can also visit your local NRCS Service Center or visit the Colorado NRCS website at www.co.nrcs.usda.gov.