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Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program 2014 Signup Deadline Announced

The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) administered by the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is accepting applications for funding on a continuous basis. The 2008 Farm Bill provided for a continuous signup to allow eligible entities more opportunities to sign up eligible parcels. Eligible entities must submit applications on or before February 28, 2014 to receive consideration for funding in fiscal year 2014.

Land proposed for funding in FRPP must meet one of three eligibility categories: contain at least fifty percent prime and unique farmland soils or soils of Statewide and local importance; contain historical or archeological resources; or support the purpose of FRPP in Tennessee: to protect agricultural lands from conversion to non-agriculture uses.

Only eligible entities may submit applications of eligible agricultural land. Eligible entities are State, Tribal, or local governments and non-government organizations that meet specific requirements. See CPM 440 – 519.31 for further guidance concerning Entity Eligibility.

The FRPP can provide up to fifty percent of the appraised fair market value of the easement on the farm or ranch. At least fifty percent of the appraised fair market value of the easement must be provided by the eligible entity. Landowners may accept less than the appraised fair market value of the easement; the difference between the appraised value and the purchase price the landowners are willing to accept is considered a landowner donation. The eligible entity must provide at least twenty-five percent of the purchase price in cash. The eligible entity must also secure the appraisal, survey and title search, prepare the conservation easement deed, and pay for the closing procedures.

Owners of the parcel must have an adjusted gross income of less than one million dollars and be in compliance with the USDA highly erodible land and wetland compliance requirements. In order to ensure eligibility is met, landowners must complete and sign appropriate forms at their local Farm Service Center. Entities and landowners will be evaluated for eligibility prior to ranking. Applications must be submitted by the eligible entities to the TN-NRCS State Office by February 28, 2014. Application documents can be found on the TN-NRCS website for FRPP at http://www.tn.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/FRPP/frpp.html. Applicants must include all checklist items for ranking.

Individual parcels will be evaluated for eligibility and quality; the highest quality parcels for which TN-NRCS has funding will be selected. Eligible applications will be scored using the 2014 TN FFRP Ranking Form available on the TN-NRCS website for FFRP. Ranking and selection of parcels will take place immediately after the application deadline.

Chris Hancock Allen Persinger
Program Specialist -- FRPP Coordinator
(615) 277-2593