Farm easementKENTUCKY (3/23/14) — In part two of its three-part 2014 Farm Bill series, SurfKY News tackles Easements and what it means for land owners.

(This series is intended as an outline only. Links to the programs are inserted for further information.)

National Resource Conservation Service offers easement programs to eligible landowners to conserve working agricultural lands, wetlands, grasslands and forestlands.

Benefits to an Agriculture or Wetland Easement include protecting long-term food supply, environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife protection of open space, habitat for fish and wildlife (including threatened and endangered species), water quality, recharge groundwater, protect biodiversity and provide opportunities for educational activities.

There are two types of easements available:

Are you eligible?

You will need:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property
  • A farm tract number.

There are five steps to get started with NRCS.

What has changed in the 2014 Farm Bill easement programs since 2008?

Agriculture Conservation Easement Program provides financial and techniccal assistance to help conserve agriculture lands and wetlands and their related benefits. This new program combines previous Wetlands, Grassland and Farm and Ranch Programs.

Healthy Forests Reserve Program promotes the recovery of endangered or threatened species, improve plant and animal biodiversity and enhance carbon sequestration landowners a way to restore, enhance and protect forestland resources on private lands through easements and financial assistance. New in 2014 is the epansion of eligibility of acreage owned by Indian tribes. Wetland and grassland easements programs have permanent funding. However, since all the  programs are consolidated, the funding is considerably less.

Find out more about your land and Easement Programs at the USDA Western Kentucky county service center locator.

Lastly, this is what's up with the USDA this week in video. Next week SurfKY News will examine the partnership programs that benefit both agriculture producers and the environment.

Maureen C. Berry
SurfKY News
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