Producers Commit to Land Conservation Through Climate-Smart Easements

USDA Invests $138 Million in Climate-Smart Conservation Easements

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is allocating $138 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to fund 138 new climate-smart conservation easements. These projects aim to preserve wetlands, grasslands, and prime farmlands, supporting the administration’s commitment to climate-smart agriculture and forestry. By expanding priorities and streamlining the process, USDA is accelerating assistance to producers while promoting climate resilience in agricultural communities.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized the importance of these investments in protecting sensitive landscapes and farmlands. The initiatives under President Biden’s agenda, including the America the Beautiful initiative, aim to empower farmers and ranchers to conserve natural resources for future generations.

NRCS Initiatives and Project Selection

NRCS is implementing the Inflation Reduction Act through ACEP’s components: Agricultural Land Easements and Wetland Reserve Easements. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and preserving critical habitats. Selected projects include those addressing threats of conversion, lands with organic soils, and restored forest and grassland habitats across multiple states.

ACEP Funding and Implementation

With a total of $19.5 billion in additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, NRCS is committed to supporting climate-smart agriculture and forestry activities. By streamlining ACEP processes and collaborating with conservation partners, NRCS aims to enhance program accessibility and efficiency. ACEP offers financial assistance to eligible entities for easement purchases, ensuring the protection of agricultural land and wetlands from nonagricultural uses.

Private and Tribal landowners can benefit from ACEP-WRE to restore and enhance degraded wetlands previously used for agriculture. Applications for ACEP and other NRCS programs are ongoing, with specific ranking dates for funding consideration.

Read More of this Story at – 2024-03-22 20:17:42

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