Friday, November 20, 2015

Just in


Boise– Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the availability of $350 million nationwide to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation. The funding is provided through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), created by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for farming and ranching. Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect these key resources.

Wetland reserve easements, part of the ACEP, allow landowners to successfully restore, enhance and protect habitat for wildlife on their lands, reduce damage from flooding, recharge groundwater and provide outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. Eligible landowners can choose to enroll in a permanent or 30-year easement. Tribal landowners also have the option of enrolling in 30-year contracts. In Idaho, there are currently 52 easements, encompassing 10,782 acres of wetlands.

In fiscal year 2016, the Idaho office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service has nearly $400,000 to assist farmers and ranchers who would like to take part in the wetland reserve easement program. The deadline to apply is Dec. 18. To learn more about the wetland program specifically or the entire easement program, visit your local Natural Resources Conservation Office, or visit .

“The benefits of restoring, enhancing and protecting these working agricultural lands and critical wetlands cannot be overstated,” Vilsack said. “USDA is committed to preserving working agricultural lands to help protect the long-term viability of farming across the country as well as to restoring and protecting vital sensitive wetlands that provide important wildlife habitat and improve water quality.”

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