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USDA Seeks Comment on Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Rule

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). The interim rule includes changes to the program prescribed by the 2018 Farm Bill. Changes to ACEP for agricultural land easements include the following: authorizing assistance to partners who pursue “Buy-Protect-Sell” transactions, requiring a conservation plan for highly erodible land that will be protected by an agricultural land easement, and increasing flexibility for partners to meet cost-share matching requirements. ACEP aids landowners and eligible entities with conserving, restoring and protecting wetlands, productive agricultural lands, and grasslands. NRCS accepts ACEP applications year-round, but applications are ranked and funded by enrollment periods that are set locally.