USDA Seeks Sign-Ups for Grasslands Conservation Program
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Des Moines announced June 21 as the next cutoff date to submit applications for the Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP). The state recently received $225,000 to fund 2013 GRP contracts.
Through GRP, landowners and managers apply for conservation easements or rental agreements that support conservation of working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grassland under threat of conversion to other uses.
GRP offers Iowa producers rental agreements (10, 15, 20-year duration) at a rental rate of $16.50 per acre. An RMS grazing plan is required prior to the applicant entering in GRP. Additional eligibility criteria and program information are available at www.nrcs.usda.gov
Last year, USDA in Iowa received 29 applications for GRP, totaling 5,000 acres. The state received enough funding for three applications for a total of 885 acres from two counties.
Nationally, a new round of national funding authorizes $47 million to enroll up to 200,000 additional acres into GRP.
Anyone interested in GRP should contact their local NRCS office. GRP applications are accepted throughout the year.