On December 20, the 2018 farm bill, officially called the “Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018”, was signed into law by President Trump. While many are already discussing the possibilities that come with the legalization of hemp production in all 50 states, the most important function of the farm bill is the $867 billion it provides to farm, nutrition, and conservation programs across the US.
Without the funding of the farm bill, programs like the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) would be unable to function. Though these programs make up only about 9% of the bill’s expenses, they provide critical benefits not only to the environment, but to farmlands and agriculture as a whole.
Last week, we discussed how the new farm bill affects CRP. Today, we’d like to focus on ACEP under the 2018 farm bill.
ACEP and the Wetlands Reserve Program
ACEP has two sides to it: wetlands easement and grassland easement. The wetlands side of ACEP originally operated under a separate program called the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). Established by the farm bill of 1990, WRP was designed to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands. Though smaller in scale than the Conservation Reserve Program, it offers many similar benefits both to the landowner and to the surrounding environment.
Healthy wetlands are critical to the environment, providing homes to wildlife and water to plant life. They also improve water quality, protect against flooding, and control soil erosion. Recent studies have shown they may even affect the atmosphere and climate conditions.
With the passing of the 2014 Farm Bill, the WRP was placed under ACEP and renamed the Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE) program, along with the Grassland Reserve Program and the Farm and Ranch Lands Program.
Under the 2018 farm bill, these programs will continue essentially unchanged, providing landowners with reimbursement for their property. ACEP offers both long-term (usually 30 years) and permanent easement options.
FDCE Makes ACEP/WRP (WRE) Enrollment Simple
Whether you’re enrolling in wetlands or grasslands easement, ACEP offers many great benefits to farmers and landowners. The enrollment process, however, can be overwhelming. That’s why FDCE offers a full-service solution for ACEP applicants.
At FDCE, we already have the equipment, seed, herbicide, and experience needed to meet the requirements of ACEP and ensure a successful conversion. We can even help with the initial enrollment process and provide you and NRCS all of the necessary paperwork for program compliance and cost share reimbursement once we’ve completed your project.
Since ACEP covers most of your expenses, our services are practically paid for. If you’re looking to make your transition into ACEP easy, contact FDCE today.