DES MOINES, IA, Feb. 26, 2020 — Iowa farmers and private landowners are encouraged to apply by March 27 for easements to protect and restore agricultural working lands and wetlands through USDA’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting ACEP applications at local USDA Service Centers statewide. In 2019, NRCS obligated more than $9 million to restore 13 easements covering 1,666 acres. There are currently 1,658 USDA-enrolled conservation easements in Iowa that cover 189,313 acres.
Through the ACEP wetland component, Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE), NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners and Indian tribes to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands through the purchase of a wetland easement. NRCS will enroll eligible land through permanent easements, 30-year easements, term easements, or 30-year contracts.
For wetland easements, NRCS pays all costs associated with recording the easement in the local land records office, including recording fees, charges for abstracts, survey and appraisal fees, and title insurance.
Agricultural Land Easements
NRCS also provides financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) that protect the ag land use and conservation values of eligible land. For working farms, the program helps farmers keep their land in agriculture. ACEP-ALE also protects grazing uses by conserving grasslands and pastures.
To learn more about ACEP, visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/ia/programs/easements/acep/ or contact your local NRCS office.