NB_440_19_27 - NB 440-19-27 PGM - Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) Sod Farming Guidance
NB 440-19-27 PGM - Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) Sod Farming Guidance
National Bulletin:  440-19-27      Date: September 20, 2019  
Subject: PGM - Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) Sod Farming Guidance


   
 
Purpose.   To provide State Conservationists guidance on the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE) and sod farming.   
 
Expiration Date.   December 31, 2019   
 

Background.   In implementation of ACEP-ALE, NRCS defers to the State definition of “agricultural use” found in either its farm and ranch land protection program or tax assessment authority but reserves the right to impose deed restrictions to comply with Federal law or to protect soil or related natural resources. Pursuant to this policy, NRCS previously prohibited the enrollment of sod farms into ACEP-ALE. However, if a State recognizes sod farms as being in agricultural use, NRCS may consider a parcel that is in sod production as land eligible for ACEP enrollment if the sod production on the parcel is conducted such that the operator—

• Conducts the production on relatively level ground;
• Leaves strips when harvesting to help with regrowth of sod;
• Uses traditional equipment that is used in most farming operations;
• Rotates the harvest to ensure sustainability of the operation; and
• Other criteria identified by the State Conservationist in consultation with the State Technical Committee.

 
Explanation.   Effective immediately, NRCS is clarifying that the Agency views sod farms that meet the above-referenced conditions as land that may be eligible for ACEP-ALE enrollment purposes. State Conservationists are reminded that the State Technical Committee and our entity partners in the ACEP-ALE community should be consulted for input in making determinations regarding sod farming including whether sod farming meets the State’s definition of agricultural use and the conditions under which such agricultural use is consistent with the protection of the long-term agricultural use and future viability of the land.  
 
Contact.   For general questions related to the ACEP-ALE, contact Jerome Faulkner, National ACEP-ALE Program Manager, at jerome.faulkner@usda.gov.
 
 

 /s/

JIMMY BRAMBLETT
Deputy Chief for Programs
     
 
     
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