Huron, S.D. – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials announce April 12, 2019, as the deadline for applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program — Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program — Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) administered by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The purpose of the ALE program is to protect the agricultural viability, grazing uses and related conservation values by limiting nonagricultural uses of the land. Applicants for ALE must come from eligible entities including state or local governments, Tribes, and certain non-governmental organizations, in cooperation with eligible landowners.

Landowners interested in enhancing their property through WRE have several options to consider, one of those being the component of Reserved Grazing Rights. Through WRE Reserved Grazing Rights, NRCS partners with landowners to protect, restore and enhance enrolled lands, while retaining the rights to graze the offered area following a NRCS approved grazing plan.

There are two easement duration options available with Reserved Grazing Rights, a 30-year easement and a permanent easement. With the 30-year option, NRCS will pay 75 percent of the restoration cost. With the permanent easement, NRCS will pay 100 percent of the restoration. Through both options landowners retain the rights to graze following an NRCS approved grazing plan.

Landowners interested in exploring USDA NRCS easement options are encouraged to contact their local NRCS field office for further details. To be considered for Fiscal Year 2019 funding, applications must be received by April 12, 2019. Applications are available online or at any USDA Service Center.

For information about technical assistance and conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. For more information about the ACEP or to apply, please contact your local NRCS office or visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Programs/FinancialAssistance/ACEP.

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