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News Release

Second application Cut-off announced for Farm and Ranchland Protection Program

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Jeff Harlow,
Asst. State Conservationist for Programs
Natural Resources Conservation Service
(509) 323-2971

For immediate release

SPOKANE, Wash. (Feb. 6, 2013) – March 15 is the second application cut-off date for the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program (FRPP), USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today.

Since 1996, FRPP in Washington State has provided over $15 million in Federal funds combined with roughly $18 million from private and public sources for a total of $33 million to preserve over 9800 acres of rich farmland on 96 parcels.

FRPP provides matching funds to help eligible partners preserve farm or ranch land and cultural resources. The program offers a way to keep prime farmland in agriculture use and keep farming and ranching communities thriving by relieving development pressures. Under the program, USDA partners with eligible state, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to acquire conservation easements that protect agricultural use by limiting non-agricultural uses such as development. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value of the conservation easement.

Groups seeking to partner with NRCS must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have an established farmland protection program

  • Have demonstrated a commitment to the long-term conservation of agricultural lands.

  • Utilize a voluntary easement purchase or other legal devices to protect farmland

  • Have the authority, capacity, and demonstrated capability to acquire, hold, manage, and enforce conservation easements or their equivalent.

  • Have a pending offer signed by the landowner and a representative of the cooperating entity to purchase a conservation easement for each parcel.

  • Have the funds to match the federal contribution and acquire the easement.

These groups must provide at least 25 percent of the purchase price in cash. They must also secure the appraisal, survey, and title search; prepare the conservation easement deed; and pay for the closing. Landowners may accept less than the appraised fair market value of the easement, thus donating a portion of the value.

“The Farm and Ranchland Protection Program provides the perfect opportunity for partners to come together with NRCS to preserve valuable farm and ranch land in our local communities,” said Jeff Harlow, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs. Fiscal year 2012 was one of the most successful years for enrolling new projects in Washington State with seven new agreements to protect nearly 1500 acres on 28 separate projects.

Potential partner entities with questions should contact FRPP Program Coordinator Monica Hoover at (360) 704-7784. Applications are accepted on a continual basis. Applications received after March 15, 2013 or that exceed the available funding will be ranked and held in a pending status until funds become available.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or a part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD). To file a complaint of discrimination write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Helping People Help the Land

316 W. Boone, Suite 450
Spokane, WA  99201
509-323-2900