WARWICK, RI (July 19, 2011) —R. Phou Vongkhamdy, Rhode Island State Conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today a second ranking period for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP).
“This program helps ensure that valuable, productive land is protected,” said Vongkhamdy. “The funds will be used to match partner’s funding to purchase conservation easements for the purpose of limiting conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses. Since 1996, Rhode Island NRCS has provided over $12 million in matching funds to partner’s funds for the protection of over 3,000 acres of farmland in Rhode Island.”
NRCS accepts FRPP proposals from interested State, Tribal, local governments, and non-governmental organizations throughout the year. For those proposals selected for funding, NRCS will enter into an agreement to support efforts to protect soils and historical and archaeological sites. NRCS provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement. Funds, if available, will be awarded to the highest ranked eligible parcels through a statewide, competitive process. If funds are not available, applications will be held for Fiscal Year 2012 funding consideration. Applications submitted by August 19, 2011 will be held for next year funding consideration.
Any State or town government or non-profit organization may apply for FRPP funds by submitting a proposal. Eligible entities must demonstrate a commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands, a capacity to acquire and manage easements, have pending offers on a farm(s), and available funding to match Federal funds.
Eligible farmland must be privately owned, subject to a pending offer, and contain at least 50 percent prime, statewide, or locally important farmland soils. In addition, the farm must include actively operated cropland, grassland, and/or pastureland on at least one-third of the total offered acreage.
Additional information on FRPP and application materials may be obtained online at www.ri.nrcs.usda.gov or by contacting Michael Kenyon, FRPP Manager, at (401) 822-8821.