USDA Extends ACEP Interim Rule Comment Period

John DavisAgribusiness, USDA

usda-logoThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is extending the deadline to comment on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program’s (ACEP) interim rule until May 28, 2015.

“We extended the comment period for the ACEP rule to give our partners, landowners and the public additional time to comment on a rule that will be used to implement USDA’s premier conservation easement program on private agricultural lands,” [Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Jason] Weller said.

ACEP is designed to help landowners protect working agricultural lands and wetlands. The 2014 Farm Bill consolidated three previous conservation easement programs into ACEP to make it easier for diverse agricultural landowners to fully benefit from conservation initiatives.

ACEP is a voluntary program created in the 2014 Farm bill to protect and restore critical wetlands on private and tribal lands through the wetland reserve easement component. ACEP also encourages farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private forest landowners to keep their private and tribal land in agricultural use through the agricultural land easement component. ACEP also conserves grasslands, including rangeland, pastureland and shrubland.

You can read the official notice of the proposed ACEP interim rule here.