The Agriculture Easement Conservation Program

Conservation easements are long-term agreements that protect agriculture land from conversion to non-agricultural development. These programs safeguard America’s farmland and food supply chains while protecting rural landscapes and communities from exploitative development.  In exchange for development rights, landowners receive an upfront payment from a government, tribe, or NGO while continuing to use the farm for agriculture and partnering with this entity to implement conservation practices on their land. Farmers with eligible wetland can directly partner with the NRCS through an easement, but many easement programs are facilitated through non-NRCS entities, such as the American Farmland Trust. Easements are characterized by term limits (30-year easements) or permanent easement status (e.g. the easement continues forward in perpetuity) and can be an excellent way to boost farm income while safeguarding the operation for future generations.