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Grassland Reserve Program

General Program Description

The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program that helps landowners and operators restore and protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland, and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as grazing lands.

The program emphasizes: Support for grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity, and protection of grasslands under the greatest threat of conversion.

GRP is authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) administer the program. Funding for the GRP comes from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Producers can apply at USDA Service Centers in North Dakota.

Acrobat Reader is required to view the following documents:

        GRP Fact Sheet (PDF; 49 KB)
        GRP At-a-Glance (PDF; 52 KB)
        GRP Final Rule (PDF; 185 KB)
        GRP Key Points (PDF; 50 KB)
     

How the Grassland Reserve Program Works

Applications may be filed for a rental agreement or easement with NRCS or FSA. Batching dates are established to evaluate and select applications for funding.  April 1, 2011, is the cut-off date for applications to be considered for 2011's allocation of funds. 

The Program Offers Several Enrollment Options:

Rental Contract:  Participants have the option of choosing a 10-year, 15-year, or 20-yearcontract.  USDA will provide annual payments in an amount that is not more than 75 percent of the grazing value established by the Farm Service Agency. Payments will not exceed $50,000 per year per person or legal entity and will be disbursed annually.

The following documents requires Acrobat Reader.

        North Dakota's 2011 County Rental Rates (PDF; 58 KB)
        North Dakota's 2011 Geographical Area Rate Cap (GARC) (PDF; 17 KB)

Permanent Easement:  This is a conservation easement in perpetuity. Easement payments for this option equal the fair market value, less the grazing value of the land encumbered by the easement. These values will be determined using an appraisal process or an area-wide market analysis. North Dakota State law precludes the permanent easement option.

Restoration Agreement:  Certain grassland easements or rental contracts may be eligible for cost-share assistance up to 50 percent of the cost to re-establish grassland functions and values where the land had been degraded or converted to other uses.

Participants may contribute to the application of a cost-share practice through in-kind contributions. The combined total cost-share provided by all sources may not exceed 100 percent of the total actual cost of restoration. Payments will not exceed $50,000 per year per person or legal entity.

Ranking Criteria

Applications will be evaluated and selected based on state ranking criteria. 

The following documents may requires Acrobat Reader.

       
North Dakota Evaluation Worksheet  (PDF; 20 KB)  
        North Dakota Evaluation Instructions  (PDF; 12 KB) 

Eligibility

The FY 2011 North Dakota GRP sign-up will prioritize funding to applicants within the Major Land Resource Areas (MLRA) 53A, 53B, 54, 58C, 58D, 60B, and 63A. Please refer to the MLRA map for more information about these Resource Areas.

            ND MLRA Map  (PDF; 452 KB)

Eligible applicants include landowners and operators who have general control of private land (for rental contracts), landowners who can provide clear title on privately owned lands (for easements), and Tribes.

The Adjusted Gross Income provision of the 2008 Farm Bill impacts eligibility for GRP. Individuals or entities that have an average adjusted gross nonfarm income exceeding $1 million for the 3 tax years immediately preceding the year the contract is approved are not eligible to receive program benefits or payments.  However, an exemption is provided in cases where two-thirds of the adjusted gross income is derived from farming, ranching, or forestry operations.

Eligible land includes privately owned or Tribal grasslands; land that contains forbs (including improved rangeland and pastureland or shrubland) for which grazing is the predominant use; or land that is located in an area that historically has been dominated by grassland, forbs, or shrubland that has the potential to serve as wildlife habitat of significant ecological value.

Cooperating Entity Eligibility

A unit of State, local, or Tribal government or a non-governmental organization that can demonstrate the following conditions may enroll eligible land under a cooperative agreement through the State office:

�/span>     A commitment to grazing land conservation;

�/span>     Capability to acquire, manage, and enforce GRP easements;

�/span>     Sufficient staff to monitor easement stewardship; and

�/span>     Availability of matching funds.

Non-governmental organizations are required to provide evidence of dedicated funding to ensure long-term management, monitoring, and enforcement.

To Apply:

Application signup is an ongoing process and can be done on line or completed at your local USDA Service Center with NRCS or FSA.

The following document requires Acrobat Reader.
        Application form (AD-1153)  (PDF; 80 KB)


Program Contact:

Todd Hagel
Assistant State Conservationist (Water Resources)

Phone: 701-530-2004
E-mail: todd.hagel@nd.usda.gov