Agricultural Easements Program opens preservation funding

The Agricultural Conservation Easements Program created under the 2014 Farm Bill makes $2 million available to Connecticut for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Thursday.

Approved agricultural easements prevent productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses and protect land devoted to food production. Cropland, grassland, pastureland, and non-industrial private forestland are eligible. Wetland reserve easements restore and enhance wetlands and improve habitat. Eligible lands include farmed or converted wetlands that can be successfully and cost-effectively restored.

“I encourage Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and private landowners to contact their local NRCS office to find out how to apply,” Lisa Coverdale, Connecticut NRCS state conservationist, said in a news release.

Applications are due by June 6. To obtain an application, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. Applications should be sent to:
Please submit applications by June 6, 2014, to: Joyce Purcell, assistant state conservationist-programs; USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service; 344 Merrow Road, Suite A; Tolland, CT 06084-3917 or at: joyce.purcell@ct.usda.gov.

For information about the easements program and NRCS’s other programs, call the Norwich office of the NRCS at: (860) 887-3604 or visit: www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.

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