Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)
The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program is a voluntary program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect working agricultural lands by limiting non-agricultural uses. NRCS works with approved state, local and non-profit entities who arrange for the purchase of development rights through conservation easements on private lands. The entity holds and manages these conservation easements in perpetuity.
Notice of 2013 Program Funding Update!
The New York Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP) Fiscal Year 2013 application deadline has been extended to June 31, 2013, with three funding periods. An entity submitting an application must be deemed eligible before any proposed easements submitted by the entity will be considered. All required easement data must be included in order for the application to be considered.
FRPP funds will be used to reimburse an entity for up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement on approved applications. All proposed easement applications must be ranked individually. FRPP funds will be awarded to the highest ranked eligible applications on a statewide basis.
Entity Eligibility Criteria
Any state or local unit of government, or non-profit organization in New York can apply for FRPP funds by submitting an Application for Federal Funding (SF-424, SF-424a and SF-424b), and by demonstrating:
- A commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands.
- The ability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements.
- Having sufficient staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship.
- The availability of funds for each application.
NRCS will notify entities of their eligibility status and whether a three year cooperative agreement with NRCS will be developed. NRCS would like a draft easement deed within 45 days of the agreement signing to begin the review process, which may take up to 90 days.
Proposed Easement Eligibility
Eligible land must:
- be privately owned.
- contain at least 50 percent prime, unique, statewide, or locally important farmland.
- be subject to a pending offer or option to purchase.
- contain cropland, grassland, pasture land, or forest land that contributes to the economic viability of an agricultural operation.
- not include forest land of greater than two-thirds of the easement.
- possess on-site and off-site conditions which will allow the easement to be effective in achieving the purposes of the program.
The eligibility of the land and the landowner for each proposed easement must be established at the time the application is submitted for potential funding. For each proposed easement application, the landowner’s legal name and contact information must be provided. The landowner must complete a CPA-1200. The landowner must be compliant with Highly Erodible and Wetland Conservation provisions of the 1985 Farm Bill, as amended. A current AD-1026 must be on file with the Farm Service Agency and must be included with the application.
Landowners also must meet the adjusted gross income limitation, earning less than $1 million in non-farm income for each of the past three years, unless more than 66 percent of the total gross income was from farm income. A current CCC-926 must be included with the application.
Conservation management plans are required on FRPP easements with highly erodible land located within the proposed easement area.
Forest management plans are required on all FRPP easements with forest cover on greater than 40 acres or 20 percent of the easement area (whichever is greater).
In addition to the above, the entity must include:
- a copy of the signed easement offer with parcel legal description.
- a listing of funding sources and amounts for each application.
- a current aerial photograph with the easement area and local road network indicated.
- a map of the proposed easement boundary.
- a completed proposed easement ranking sheet.
The maps and ranking sheet shall include only those lands for which the FRPP program funds are requested; not any exception areas located on the farm. The ranking sheet should contain the specific proposed easement details as well as the subsequent score.
- Percent of prime, unique, and important farmland in the proposed easement.
- Percent of cropland, pastureland, and grassland in the proposed easement.
- Ratio of total acres in the proposed easement to the average farm size in the county.
- Proximity of the proposed easement to other preserved farms, or land.
- Proximity of the proposed easement to other agricultural operations and infrastructure.