- Associated Press - Thursday, September 5, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Agriculture Department has announced the award of $36 million to buy conservation easements on Iowa agriculture land damaged by flooding this year.

The funds are available through the flood plain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service field offices are accepting applications through Oct. 18.

Under the program, eligible applicants voluntarily agree to sell a permanent conservation easement to the federal government. Compensation is based on the value of the easement rights acquired based on rate caps and market analysis.

The easements may occur on public or private agricultural land and/or residential properties damaged by flooding. Applications will be prioritized by a statewide ranking. The conservation service will work with landowners to restore easements to their natural flood plain condition.

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