Madison, Wis., January 5, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin has announced the fiscal year 2021 signup deadline is February 5, 2021, for Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) and Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) applications. The 2018 Farm Bill has provided NRCS with technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, tribes, land trusts and other groups protect these valuable lands.
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) umbrella focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. The WRE component provides landowners compensation for enrolling their land in easements. The ALE component works with eligible partners to protect agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land.
Applications for WRE and ALE are taken on a continuous basis and they are ranked and considered for funding one time a year. Landowners who have applied for WRE and partners who have applied for ALE in the past need not apply again but may be asked to update their application documents. “There may be other funding opportunities for WRE later in the year. If you do not get an application in by February 5, you may still submit one during the summer. We will consider those applications for funding in the 2022 fiscal year, which begins in October 2021,” said Greg Kidd, Assistant State Conservationist for Easements.