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2014 Farm Bill Programs

Agricultural Lands Easement Program (ALE)

Purpose of Program

  • The Agricultural Lands Easement Program (ALE) is a voluntary program that helps farmers, ranchers and tribal members keep their land in agricultural production by providing matching money to qualifying entities, normally land trusts, which can then be used to buy conservation easements on eligible land.


  • Eligible land must be part or all of a privately owned or tribal farm or ranch that contains prime, unique, or other productive soil, historical, or archeological resources; protect grazing uses and related conservation values by restoring or conserving the land including expiring CRP; or further a State or local policy consistent with the purposes of this program.
  • Highly erodible land must be managed under a conservation plan.
  • The eligible land must be part of a pending offer from a qualified entity such as a land trust.

Contracts and Cost-Share

  • Easement length: permanent or the maximum allowed by State law.
  • Generally requires the land trust or other eligible entity to provide a cash match that is at least 50% of the amount contributed by NRCS, the landowner can provide the remainder of the match.
  • Exceptions: NRCS generally provides up to 50% of the fair market value but can provide up to 75% of it for grasslands of special environmental significance. NRCS can waive any part of the entity’s cash contribution on lands of special environmental significance if the landowner’s voluntary contribution makes up the difference.

Application Process

  • Applications can be filed year round at qualifying entities and land trusts.
  • Texas Land Trust Council website:
  • Texas Ag Land Trust website:

  • For more information contact:
    Claude Ross
    Texas NRCS Easement Programs Manager
    Phone: (254) 742-9822