Ag Land Conservation Easements with NRCS & Entities

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[October 17, 2023]     NRCS State Conservationist, Tammy Willis announced funding is now available for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agriculture Land Easements (ACEP-ALE).

The program provides an opportunity for landowners to place land into an easement while continuing to produce an agricultural commodity. This Ag Land Easement program protects agriculture land from conversion to uses other than agriculture. According to Willis, “Many landowners find these programs useful when they want to leave a farming legacy. Others want to protect agriculture land from Urban expansion. With these programs, you can do just that.”

ACEP-ALE is different than many other easement programs, in that it requires an entity to assist with the cost of purchasing the easement and the entity also holds the easement instead of NRCS. This often appeals to some landowners because they feel more comfortable with the entity serving as the easement holder. Who can serve as an ‘entity’? Eligible entities include state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs, can qualify as an eligible entity.

For the FY2023 Signup, great resources are available to help explain the Ag Land Easement program requirements for entities and landowners. NRCS worked with American Farmland Trust (AFT) to create documents that walk a landowner or entity through the easement process. These resource materials are located on the NRCS IL website at

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The ACEP-ALE signup process is continuous; applications can be taken at any time. NRCS will conduct the first opportunity for funding during the first application cutoff of December 1, 2023. All eligible applications received through December 1, 2023, will be considered for funding. An additional funding cutoff for ACEP-ALE will be determined.

Entities interested in participating in ACEP-ALE must submit an NRCS-CPA-41 Entity Application Form along with NRCS-CPA-41A Parcel Application Form, for all the parcels they would like to fund in FY24.

To learn more, producers and entities should call to set up appointments with local NRCS office staff. Visit to find your local office contact information.

[Aaron Patrick
Public Affairs Specialist
USDA NRCS Illinois]


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