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USDA/NRCS RIN: 0578-AA66 Publication ID: Fall 2020 
Title: Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) 

The final rule finalizes changes made by the interim rule that provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands through easements. The interim rule made the regulation consistent with the changes the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) makes to subtitle H of title XII of the Food Security Act of 1985.  For example:  (1) specify the criteria by which the Secretary may enter into a legal arrangement with an eligible entity that is pursuing a "Buy-Protect-Sell" transaction, (2) modify the non-Federal share contribution requirements provided by the eligible entity, remove the requirement that 50 percent of the non-Federal share be provided by cash resources of the eligible entity, and determine the extent to which the non-Federal share can be comprised by other sources, such as a qualified charitable donation by the landowner; (3) specify the existing policy of the Secretary to adjust ranking and evaluation criteria for geographic differences and to give priority to applications that maintain agricultural viability; (4) introduce additional terms and conditions that may be included in the agricultural land easement deed; (5) specify the existing policy of the Secretary to ensure that a Reserve Grazing Rights Wetland Reserve Easement complies with a grazing management plan, which must be reviewed and modified as needed every 5 years, (6) identify the criteria under which NRCS may authorize the restoration of the easement area to hydrologically appropriate native vegetative communities or alternative naturalized vegetative communities, subject to certain requirements, and (7) incorporate changes to NRCS’s modification, subordination, exchange, or termination of ACEP easements.  The final rule will address the issues raised in the comments received on the interim rule.

Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
EO 13771 Designation: Fully or Partially Exempt 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 1468   
Legal Authority: Pub. L. 115-334   
Legal Deadline:  None
Action Date FR Cite
Interim Final Rule Effective  12/30/2019 
Interim Final Rule  01/06/2020  85 FR 558   
Correction  01/24/2020  85 FR 4191   
Extended Comment Period End  03/20/2020 
Final Rule  12/00/2020 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: None 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: No 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Deirdre Holder
Branch Chief, Regulatory Analysis and PRA Requirements Branch
Department of Agriculture
Farm Production and Conservation Business Center, 1400 Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20250-0572
Phone:202 205-5851