The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) is now
accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Applications that
meet eligibility and ranking criteria for ACEP received by October 31 will be considered for FY2024
ACEP helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands,
grasslands, and working farms and ranches through two types of conservation easements: Agricultural
Land Easements (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE).
Under the Agricultural Land Easements component, NRCS helps protect working agricultural lands
and limits non-agricultural uses to protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food while
supporting environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open
space. This component is also available for grasslands of special environmental significance, or
high-quality grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other
Landowners interested in ACEP- ALE must work with a cooperating entity who will submit the required
application materials. NRCS does not accept applications directly from producers. State and local
governments, non-governmental organizations that have farmland or grassland protection programs,
and several New Jersey land trusts are eligible to help interested landowners apply.
Wetland Reserve Easements allow landowners to successfully enhance and protect habitat for wildlife
on their lands, reduce impacts from flooding, recharge groundwater, and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. NRCS provides technical and financial assistance directly to private and tribal landowners to restore, protect and enhance wetlands through the purchase of these easements, and eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement.
To apply for ACEP-ALE, or for more information, please contact Assistant State Conservationist for
Programs Gail Bartok, at 732-537-6042 or Easement Specialist Kate Colon, at 732-537-6099.
Applications for ACEP-WRE are available through your local USDA Service Center and online at