Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program

With the enactment of the new Farm Bill, easement programs have been revised under a new program, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Information and guidance will be posted as it is developed.

The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranch land in agricultural uses.  USDA provides funds to State, Tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations (eligible entities) to acquire conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners.  USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement.  The eligible entities must provide at least half of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement.

To qualify, the land must have fifty percent prime, unique, or important farmland soils; have a historic or archeological resource; or have land that supports the policy of a State or local farm and ranch land protection program. 

The land must also: be part of a pending offer from a State, tribe, or local farmland protection program; be privately owned; have a conservation plan for highly erodible land; be large enough to sustain agricultural production; be accessible to markets for what the land produces; have adequate infrastructure and agricultural support services; and have surrounding parcels of land that can support long-term agricultural production.

Landowners must meet eligibility requirements for adjusted gross income and compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of the Farm Bill.

Proposals must be submitted by the eligible entities to the appropriate NRCS State Office on a continuous basis throughout the year.  The individual farms and ranches are evaluated and ranked individually on a predetermined date and funds are obligated to the eligible entities associated with the highest ranked farms and ranches in a cooperative agreement.

In 2013 the deadline to apply for FRPP is March 3, 2014

Vermont FRPP Information

Entity Eligibility Criteria

Any state or local unit of government, or non-profit organization can apply for FRPP funds by demonstrating

  • A commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands
  • A capability to acquire, manage, and enforce easements
  • Sufficient staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship
  • The availability of funds

Selected and Funded Projects

Eligible entities will sign an agreement with NRCS for a period of three years. Within 30 days of agreement signing, the entity will be required to submit a draft easement deed for NRCS approval.

Parcel Eligibility

Eligible land must:

  • Be privately owned
  • Contain at least 50% prime, unique, statewide, or locally important farmland
  • Be subject of a pending offer
  • 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 parcel must be established at the time the parcel is submitted for potential funding.

For each parcel, the landowner's legal name and contact information must be provided. A CCC-901 Members Information form must be signed by the landowner.

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 or submitted 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% of the total gross income was from farm income. A current CCC-931 must be included with the application.

Forest management plans are required on all parcels with forest cover on greater than 10 acres or 10% of the easement area (whichever is greater). If the parcel requires a forest management plan, a certification by the landowner that such a plan will be completed prior to closing is needed.

A Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is necessary for entities that will be receiving equal to or more than $25,000 in federal cost share. DUNS number information is available at:

2014 Program Application Materials for Entities The following documents require Acrobat Reader

Vermont 2014 FRPP Application Workbook
Ranking Template
Soils Waiver Policy
Impervious Surface Waiver Worksheet
FRPP Fact Sheet (PDF; 48 KB)
FRPP Questions and Answers (PDF; 48 KB)


Vermont FRPP Contact

Julia Zehner
Phone: 802-951-6796 ext. 245

National FRPP Information