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From the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Attention Agricultural Land Owners:
Sign-up NOW for FY2022 Conservation Easement Funding
If you’re an agricultural landowner or eligible entity interested in protecting the future of the nation’s food supply, why not consider protecting your land with a conservation easement through the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)? NRCS accepts applications year round; however, the time to sign-up for FY2022 funding is fast approaching and must be submitted by January 28, 2022.
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) has two components, one for Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and one for Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).
• Under the ALE component, funds are provided to eligible entities that use ACEP funding to purchase permanent agricultural land easements that not only protect the future of the nation's food supply, but also support environmental quality, wildlife habitat, and historic preservation and protection of open spaces. Landowner applicants who are interested must apply through an eligible entity – such as a land trust, municipality, or the Connecticut Department of Agriculture. 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 WRE component, funding is provided directly to landowners for the purchase of an easement and for restoration. Wetland reserve easements allow landowners to successfully restore, enhance, and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater, and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Eligible landowners may choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement; tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.
Land eligible for agricultural easements includes cropland, grassland, and pastureland; non-industrial private forest land may be enrolled when associated with active agricultural land. Native American Tribes, state and local governments, and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs are eligible to partner with NRCS to purchase conservation easements.
Enrolling agricultural land helps secure the future of the nation’s food supply, prevents it from being developed or going to a non-agricultural use, and provides public benefits including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open space.
Applications must be submitted by January 28, 2022, to:
Carol Grasis
Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service
344 Merrow Road, Suite A
Tolland, CT 06084-3917
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, our offices are not currently open to the public. However, we can assist you remotely. Please call your local USDA Service Center (listed below) for assistance in completing applications.
Not sure how to begin? Visit the ACEP section on our website where you will find information on benefits, how to apply, all the forms you will need, and more.
To speak to someone about filling out eligibility forms with the Farm Service Agency (FSA), or to obtain an application, contact your local USDA Service Center: Danielson – (860) 779-0557; Hamden – (203) 287-8038; Norwich – (860) 887-3604; Torrington – (860) 626-8852; Windsor – (860) 688-7725; Connecticut State Office, Tolland – (860) 871-4028.
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