Between 2009 and 2017, federal Farm Bill investments in conservation easements in Colorado totaled some $80 million in 2018 inflation-adjusted dollars to support the conservation of more than 129,000 acres of farm and ranch lands. Nationwide, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easement (ACEP-ALE) program expects to support private lands conservation projects totaling the mandatory spending level of $250 million in the 2018 fiscal year, or about 7% of anticipated demand and 50% of spending allocated to ACEP-ALE in 2016-17.
Federal payments are economic stimulus from the perspective of the state economy. This stimulus should affect production, sales, job creation, land values, tax revenues and the like.
Land trusts leverage federal dollars to receive local, state, or private dollars. In our sample, we found $36 million (2018$) in federal easement program funds were used to leverage $69 million of local, state, or private funds for a rate of leverage on federal investment of about 2 to 1.
The results of this economic impact analysis can help to inform the discussion of the importance of these programs to the Colorado economy, particularly its rural communities.
This includes the original report from 2018 and an updated report from 2020.