How can conservation easements help you?

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NRCS offers easement programs to landowners who want to maintain or enhance their land in a way beneficial to agriculture and/or the environment. All NRCS easement programs are voluntary.

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1What is an easement?
A conservation easement is a restriction placed on a piece of land to protect its natural resources. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

A piece of agricultural land put into a conservation program is taken out of production and instead used to promote conservation practices such as wetlands, threatened or endangered species habitats, and more.

2Agricultural conservation
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits.

Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.

Land eligible for agricultural easements includes cropland, rangeland, grassland, pastureland and nonindustrial private forest land.

3Wetland reserve
Under the Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE) component of the ACEP, NRCS helps to restore, protect and enhance enrolled wetlands.

WREs are either permanent or for 30 years in length. Land eligible for wetland reserve easements includes farmed or converted wetland that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.

4Healthy forests
The Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) helps landowners restore, enhance and protect forestland resources on private lands through easements and financial assistance. HFRP provides landowners with 10-year restoration agreements and 30-year or permanent easements for specific conservation actions.

Through HRFP, landowners promote the recovery of endangered or threatened species, improve plant and animal biodiversity and enhance carbon sequestration.

This month we will break down different services provided by the NRCS each week, wrapping the series up with how you can get started with NRCS.

Next week: Getting started with NRCS.

Sources: For more details on each of these programs and to find more programs visit nrcs.usda.gov.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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