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Florida Farmers Can Safeguard Their Agricultural Land With a USDA Conservation Easement

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NRCS accepts agricultural conservation easement applications year-round; however, applications for FY2023 funding are being accepted from now until January 31, 2023.

Florida - Saturday November 5, 2022: Are you an agricultural landowner interested in protecting the integrity of your property? Consider safeguarding your agricultural land with a conservation easement through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

NRCS accepts agricultural conservation easement applications year-round; however, applications for FY2023 funding are being accepted from now until January 31, 2023.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) protects the agricultural viability and related conservation values of eligible land by limiting nonagricultural uses which negatively affect agricultural uses and conservation values. The ACEP protects grazing uses and related conservation values by restoring or conserving eligible grazing land, and it also protects, restores and enhances wetlands on eligible land. Under the Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) component of the program permanent agricultural land easements are funded to protect the future of the nation's food supply, and to also support environmental quality, wildlife habitat, and historic preservation and protection of open spaces. Interested landowner applicants must apply through an eligible entity – such as a land trust, municipality, or State agencies. NRCS will prioritize applications that protect agricultural uses and related conservation values of the land and those that maximize the protection of contiguous acres devoted to agricultural use.

Under the Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) component, landowners may apply directly to NRCS for a conservation easement to restore wetlands impacted by agriculture. Wetland Reserve Easements provide habitat for fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, improve water quality by filtering sediments and chemicals, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater, protect biological diversity, provide resilience to climate change, and provide opportunities for limited recreational activities.

Not sure how to begin? Visit our Florida NRCS where you will find information on ACEP benefits, how to apply, all the forms you will need, and more. Contact your local NRCS office to apply for ACEP by January 31, 2023.

To speak to someone about filling out eligibility forms with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Florida, or to obtain an NRCS ACEP application, contact your local USDA Service Center.