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News Release

Federal Funds Available for Grassland Preservation

VERMONT, July 13, 2011 – Do you own large, open areas of hay land and/or pasture? Would you like to receive federal money to pay for the protection, restoration, and enhancement of this land? Applications are being accepted though September 1, 2011 by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) annual funding.

Functioning grasslands can help improve water quality, sequester carbon, provide valuable wildlife habitat and offer recreation opportunities. Vermont’s historic grassland areas are often threatened by development and other nonagricultural land uses. This program emphasizes support for grazing operations and permanent hay land operations that are interested in enhancement and biodiversity of the plants and animals on their operation. GRP also emphasizes support for the protection of grasslands that are under the threat of conversion.

Applicants can apply to GRP for a 10, 15, or 20-year rental agreement or a permanent easement. Eligible landowners may also receive up to 50% reimbursement for restoration costs to restore pasture infrastructure.

All interested landowners should begin by making an appointment at their local USDA Service Center. To be considered for this round of GRP funding applications must be received by September 1, 2011, but applications can be submitted anytime for processing in the subsequent funding round. For additional information about the Grassland Reserve Program, please visithttp://www.vt.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/GRP/Index.html

United States Department of Agriculture  •  Natural Resources Conservation Service  •  356 Mountain View Dr., Suite 105, Colchester, Vermont 05446  •  Phone: (802) 951-6796  •  Web:http://www.nrcs.usda.gov

Contact: Mary Sturgeon, 802-951-6795