Indiana NRCS accepting applications for easement programs

Acting State Conservationist Gerald Roach recently announced Indiana’s USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program.

The program restores and protects Indiana’s critical wetlands which helps productive farms remain in agriculture and provides important habitat for wildlife and plant species.

Applications are due on or before Aug. 17 to be considered for the 2019 fiscal year of funding that starts Oct. 1.

“Conservation easements are an important tool to help landowners and partners achieve their goals to protect their land for future generations,” Roach said. “This deadline is several months earlier than NRCS typically accepts applications, and interested applicants are encouraged to not miss the deadline.”

NRCS easement programs have been a critical tool in recent years for advancing conservation on private lands, he said.

In fiscal year 2017, Indiana NRCS allocated $11.1 million in funding to enroll 2,960 acres of wetland and farmland in conservation easements.

According to Roach more than 75,000 acres in the state have now been enrolled through NRCS. Jackson county has approximately 70 easements in processing at this time, protecting a total of 4,000 acres.

Wetland Reserve Easements have many environmental benefits including reduced impacts from flooding, recharged groundwater, and improved wildlife habitat, along with many recreational and educational opportunities.

Participants may find themselves a good fit for this program if they currently find that their inputs (seeding, fertilizer, fuel costs) that they are spending on a field are more than what they receive in yields during harvest. Other producers whose goals include wildlife habitat preservation or water quality improvement may also be interested in applying.

Agricultural Land Easements not only protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing the conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses, but they also support environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space

“NRCS helps guide landowners throughout each step of the easement process,” Roach said. “We provide technical expertise, conservation planning and financial assistance.”

NRCS accepts applications at any time throughout the year, however, applications for the next funding round must be submitted on or before Aug. 17.

To learn about ACEP and other technical and financial assistance available through Indiana NRCS conservation programs, visit or contact me at the Brownstown Field Office at 812-358-2367 ext. 3.

For information about easements in Indiana, visit