The Agricultural Act of 2014 establishes the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).
It repeals FRPP, GRP, and WRP but does not affect the validity or terms of any FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement entered into prior to the date of enactment on February 7, 2014 or any associated payments required to be made in connection with an existing FRPP, GRP, or WRP contract, agreement or easement.
The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) keeps productive farmland in privately owned agricultural use by assisting States, Tribes, and local government or non-profit entities with the purchase of conservation easements or development rights on productive farmland, and on farms containing significant historical or archaeological resources. Through a cooperative agreement, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides up to 50% of the purchase cost for perpetual easements (in Wisconsin) on eligible farmland.
Contains at least 50% prime, statewide important, unique, or other productive farmland, or includes important historical or archaeological sites
Is privately owned and is part of a working farm
Has a pending offer for purchase of development rights (conservation easement) from a State, Tribal, church, hospital, school or local farmland protection program
Meets highly erodible land provisions of the Food Security Act
Has location, size, and existing protections, such as zoning, that support long-term agricultural use
Who can participate?
State, Tribal, church, hospital, school or local entities with a qualifying farmland protection program can participate. A qualifying program utilizes voluntary easements or other legal devices to protect productive farmland.
NRCS provides up to 50% of the purchase cost of the easement to the cooperating entity. The cooperating entity acquires, manages, and enforces the easement.
Each year the NRCS issues a Request for Proposals, detailing the current application guidelines and priorities. Eligible entities then submit proposals to the Wisconsin NRCS State Conservationist. The proposal includes:
An overview of the State, Tribal, local or non-profit farmland protection program
The amount and source of funds available for easement acquisition
The criteria used to set acquisition priorities
Information on pending offers including: parcel size and location, acres of prime farmland, easement cost and duration, historical or archaeological resources, development pressure, zoning, and local land use plans.
NRCS evaluates the proposals using required national ranking criteria and state criteria developed with advice from the State Technical Committee. Cooperative agreements are prepared for entities selected for participation in the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.
FRPP Appraisal Specifications (76 kb pdf) Please review the appraisal specifications carefully before submitting application packages. Applications may be rejected if these specifications are not followed.