The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program is a voluntary program of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. One of its purposes is to protect agricultural lands by limiting non-agricultural uses. The program was established by the Agricultural Act of 2014, commonly known as the 2014 Farm Bill, and was updated in the 2018 Farm Bill.
NRCS partners with eligible state or local units of government and land trust entities which arrange for the purchase of development rights through conservation easements on private lands. The entity holds and manages these conservation easements in perpetuity. The program has 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.