NRCS accepting applications for help for farmers and ranchers

RBC | The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Colorado is currently accepting applications for enrollment into the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program—Agriculture Land/Wetland Reserve Easement (ACEP-ALE, ACEP-WRE) program. The purpose of the ACEP-ALE program is to protect the agricultural viability, grazing uses and related conservation values by limiting nonagricultural uses of the land.

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, which purchases agricultural conservation easements. The easements must have protected agriculture use and related conservation values by limiting conversion to nonagricultural uses of the land.

USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement in this voluntary program and 75 percent for qualifying projects of special significance. The landowner retains ownership and continues to use the land for agricultural purposes.

FAST FACTS:

Agriculture Conservation Easement Program – Agriculture Land Easement (ACEP-ALE) Applications must be received by Friday, April 24, 2020 for round one and Monday, May 18, 2020 for round two.

Agriculture Conservation Easement Program – Wetland Reserve Easement (ACEP-WRE) Applications must be received by Friday, April 24, 2020.

To be eligible to receive funding, applicants must demonstrate a commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands; a capability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements; adequate staff numbers dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship; and the availability of funds.

Landowners must have farm records current with the Farm Service Agency and submit a complete program application to NRCS to be considered. Applications are accepted at all Colorado NRCS offices located in USDA Service Centers across the state. To find out more information about EQIP and locate a local NRCS office near you, please visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov and select the Contact Us or Programs links.

Special to the Herald Times

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