Colorado NRCS Announces NEW 2021 ACEP-ALE Cut-Off Dates
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easement Applications Accepted:
1) February 12, 2021 and 2) April 9, 202
Denver, CO – Colorado Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist, Clint Evans announced the 2021 application cut-off dates for eligible entities to participate in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easement (ACEP-ALE). Application packages are due by 4:00pm, Friday, February 12, 2021 (MST) for funding consideration in signup 1 and by 4:00pm, Friday, April 9, 2021 for Signup 2 consideration. Ranking pools offered for parcel applications are General, Grasslands of Special Significance (GSS), GSS Gunnison Sage Grouse, and GSS Greater Sage Grouse.
The purpose of the ACEP-ALE program is to (1) protect the agricultural viability and related conservation values of eligible land by limiting nonagricultural uses of that land that negatively affect the agricultural uses and conservation values and (2) protect grazing uses and related conservation values by restoring or conserving eligible land.
Applicants (eligible entities) must be a federally recognized Indian Tribe, state or local units of government, or a non-governmental organization. Applicants must have an established farmland protection program that purchases agricultural conservation easements for the purpose of protecting agriculture use and related conservation values by limiting conversion to nonagricultural uses of the land.
USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement in this voluntary program and up to 75 percent for qualifying Grasslands of Special Significance (GSS), including projects in Sage Grouse territory. The qualified landowner retains ownership and continues to use the land for agricultural purposes.
To be eligible to receive ALE funding, eligible entity applicants must demonstrate a commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands; a capability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements; adequate staff capacity for monitoring and easement stewardship; and the availability of funds. All landowners of record and the land being offered for enrollment must also meet specific eligibility criteria as outlined in the application materials posted to the State ACEP website.
Fully completed application packets must be received by no later than 4:00 pm (MST) on the aforementioned signup dates. Application packets may be sent to the attention of Heather Foley, Easements Program Manager, by email (preferred) to firstname.lastname@example.org; by FedEx or UPS to USDA-NRCS, Denver Federal Center, Building 56, Room 2604, Denver, CO 80225; or by USPS to USDA-NRCS, Denver Federal Center, PO Box 25426, Denver, CO 80225.
Applications postmarked or time stamped after these deadlines WILL NOT be accepted.
Only fully completed and properly executed applications that are submitted by the signup dates, on the appropriate forms, and accompanied by all required supporting documentation will be considered for funding in FY 2021. All qualified applications will be reviewed, ranked, and considered for funding according to the interim ACEP rule, policy, and guidance. Issuance of the final ACEP rule may affect application requirements and eligibility considerations. If this is the case, NRCS will work with eligible entities to update applications accordingly and re-evaluate eligibility in accordance with the changes. Complete applications received after the cutoff date may be considered in the next application period.
Incomplete applications WILL NOT be considered.
For more information about ACEP-ALE, please visit the Colorado NRCS easement webpage or contact Heather Foley at 720-544-2805 or email@example.com. You can also visit your local NRCS field office located in the USDA Service Center that services your County.