The Agriculture Conservation Experienced Services Program (ACES)

Program Overview

The Agriculture Conservation Experienced Services (ACES) Program offers individuals 55 and older temporary paid assignments to provide technical services in support of the conservation-related programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

These services may include conservation planning assistance, technical consultation, and assistance with design and implementation of conservation practices. Currently, the ACES Program supports the work of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Section 2710), the program is patterned after the Senior Environmental Employment Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Senior Service America, Inc. administers the ACES Program as one of four national nonprofit organizations selected by USDA through a competitive process. Through Task Agreements, NRCS awards funds for SSAI to recruit, screen, place, and pay ACES enrollees. After qualified applicants are selected through a cooperative process, NRCS staff oversee the work activities of ACES enrollees while SSAI provides payroll, time record maintenance, record keeping, and administrative support.

To be eligible for the ACES Program, individuals must be at least 55 years old and legally eligible to work in the United States. ACES enrollees are not employees of either USDA or a State agriculture department but receive wages and benefits including paid federal holidays, and vacation and sick leave. Enrollees work from 16 to 40 hours a week.

By law, ACES enrollees cannot displace or reduce the non-overtime hours, wages, or employment benefits of USDA employees; perform work of USDA employees who are in a layoff status from the same or a substantially-equivalent job or function; or affect existing contracts for services.

Who is eligible for the ACES Program?

To be eligible, you must be at least 55 years old and legally eligible to work in the United States.

What are the pay and benefits for ACES enrollees?

ACES Enrollee Assignment Categories and Wage Schedule (Effective January 2010)
Position Assignment Categories Entry Hourly Wage* Maximum Hourly Wage**
Level 1: Technical, no degree required $11.33 $14.63
Level 2: Technical Non-Specific Degree or Undergraduate Degree required $14.16 $19.58
Level 3: Professional, Specific Degree required or Masters Degree required $20.53 $27.71
Level 4: Professional, Professional/Expert Advanced Degree required or Doctoral Degree required with extensive experience $30.80 $38.48

Position Level reflects the four categories in the ACES Program. Work hours vary between 32 and 80 hours per two-week pay period.

*Entry Wage is hourly wage each participant receives when beginning a new position with the ACES Program.

**Maximum Wage is reached by fifty cents per hour annual increases when participant agreements are renewed.

Fringe Benefits

ACES Enrollees are entitled to the following fringe benefits.

  • FICA
  • Workers Compensation
  • Annual Leave (15 Days)
  • Sick Leave (15 Days)
  • 10 paid Federal Holidays

How do I apply for the ACES Program?

If you are interested in applying, please complete the enrollment application and submit with your resume to or fax to (301) 578-8895.

Browse the vacant positions in our ACES Program for a list of current openings.

For more information about the ACES Program

SSAI ACES Program Contacts.

All National ACES Grantee Contacts.

USDA National Resource Conservation Service Contact: Travis Watkins, (717) 525-2583;

Current openings in our ACES Program

Browse the vacant positions in our ACES Program for a list of current openings.

For ACES Enrollees

ACES Handbook

  • This is an information tool for the purpose of acquainting enrollees and monitors with the policies, procedures, benefits and restrictions affecting enrollee participation in the ACES Program.


ACES Traveler’s Forms

Payroll Information

Insurance Information

Enrollees working 30 hours or more may choose to be covered by a comprehensive insurance plan. Premiums are paid by SSAI with program funds. No Dependent Coverage is offered.

All enrollees are eligible to participate in a Dental Plan for a modest cost through payroll deduction.