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NRCS offers Agricultural Land Easements Program signup

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Iowa eligible entities and landowners interested in preserving the future use of their farms may have that opportunity by enrolling their land into a permanent easement through USDA’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE). Sindra Jensen, the USDA-NRCS Easement Programs Coordinator, talked about the purpose of the program.

Landowners interested in enrolling their working farms into this program must partner with a cooperating entity on their application. Jensen said the cooperative aspect of this program makes ACEP-ALE a little different from other similar programs.

NRCS administers ACEP-ALE but will not hold the easement deeds with individuals. Jensen said that NRCS offices can provide interested landowners with contact information of eligible cooperating entities.

Interested entities and their landowner partners have until March 11 to apply for this year’s Iowa funding allocation to protect working croplands and grasslands.

To learn more about the program, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/easements/acep/ or contact your local NRCS office for a list of land trusts operating in Iowa. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some NRCS offices are taking in-person visitors by appointment only, so please call ahead.