2011 Grassland Reserve Program

The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary conservation program that assists landowners and operators in protecting grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving and restoring grassland resources on eligible private lands through rental contracts, easements, and restoration agreements.

Emphasis for enrollment into the program will be on:

  • supporting grazing operations;
  • maintaining and improving plant and animal diversity; and
  • protecting grasslands and shrublands from the threat of conversion to uses other than grazing.

Montana has designated a two-county geographic area where the GRP will be offered. These counties include Golden Valley and Musselshell. These two counties encompass sagebrush habitat that is important to sage-grouse as well as other endemic grassland birds.

Program participants have the option of enrolling in the following:

  • Perpetual easement. If selected for funding, the landowner will be offered the Geographic Area Rate Cap (GARC) value. The GARC for 2011 applications has not been established. The landowner can donate some of the cost of the easement to improve the application ranking score. NRCS holds the easement unless the landowner is working with an eligible entity.
  • Rental agreements of 10-, 15-, and 20-year durations. These agreements are paid on a per acre rental rate for the length of the contract.

Application Process

Application Deadlines

NRCS accepts conservation program applications year-round. The application cutoff date for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 was March 11, 2011. Applications received after that date will be considered for funding in FY2012.

For Individuals

To be eligible an individual must:

  • Have a majority of the land offered in one of the two counties (Golden Valley and Musselshell);
  • Be a landowner for easement participation; or
  • Be a landowner for a rental agreement or have control of the eligible acres being offered for the life of the contract;
  • Agree to provide such information to USDA that is necessary to assist in determining eligibility for program benefits and other program implementation purposes;
  • Meet the Adjusted Gross Income requirements in 7CFR 1400; and
  • Meet the conservation compliance requirements for Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation.

Interested landowners can apply at the local service center office using form AD-1153. At the end of the application period, the landowners who are selected will be contacted and asked if they wish to continue.

For Individuals Working with Entities

Interested landowners who are eligible as above and are working with an eligible entity should have the entity apply at the local service center office.

To be eligible to receive GRP funding, an entity must demonstrate:

  • A commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands, ranchlands, or grasslands for grazing and conservation purposes;
  • A capability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements;
  • Sufficient number of staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship;
  • The availability of funds; and
  • For nongovernmental organizations, the existence of a dedicated account for the purpose of easement management, monitoring, and enforcement of each easement held.

Interested entities can apply at their local service center office using form AD-1153, the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Certification, and the Entity Worksheet. At the end of the application period, the entities and the landowner they are working with that are selected will be contacted and asked if they wish to continue.

If you encounter any problems with the files provided on this page, please contact Lisa Cole at 406-587-6970.

The following documents require Adobe Reader.

Application Form - AD-1153 (PDF; 74 KB)

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Certification (PDF; 1.9 MB)

GRP Entity Worksheet (PDF; 55 KB)

For More Information

For more information and updates about the GRP, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site, the national NRCS Web site, or contact one of the Montana NRCS personnel listed below.


Lisa Cole
Program Specialist
Phone: 406-587-6970
Email: Lisa.Cole

Tim Ouellette, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
Phone: 406-587-6794
Email: Tim.Ouellette