Preservation & Stewardship of Agricultural Lands

Overview and Funding Opportunities

One of Hawaiʻi’s greatest natural resources is prime agricultural lands.  If developed, these lands no longer provide food, feed, fiber or fuel for Hawaiʻi’s people.

 Permanent protection for agricultural lands is available in the form of a conservation easement – a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its agricultural features.  It allows the landowner to continue to own and use his / her land and to sell it or pass it on to heirs.


Conservation Easements-FAQs

Landowners across the state have multiple opportunities to preserve and protect agricultural lands with financial support from federal, state and county sources.

  • Federal: The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) can be used to purchase conservation easements on productive agricultural lands.  The program is administered by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service and helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture by preventing productive working lands from being converted to non-agricultural uses.  Download ACEP Factsheet.


  • State: The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources administers the Legacy Land Conservation Fund.  This fund supports the acquisition of lands for a variety of purposes, including the purchase of conservation easements on unique and productive agricultural lands.  Funds are awarded to non-profit organizations or local units of government who then purchase the conservation easement from the landowner.  Download Legacy Land Factsheet.


Read more about local land trusts, download presentations from local experts, and view related maps.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.