The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) is a voluntary federal conservation program implemented by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The program protects agricultural land and conserves wetlands. There are two enrollment options: Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) and Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE). ACEP-ALE provides matching funds to eligible entities to buy conservation easements on farm and ranch land.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) made changes to ACEP. An interim rule published on January 6, 2020 made conforming changes to the ACEP policies and procedures in the regulations. The final rule was published on February 4, 2021.