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Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA)

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has national leadership for administeringPhoto of prime farmland in Wisconsin. [NRCS Photo] the Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA) (Public Law 97-98, December 22, 1981). The effective date of the FPPA rule (part 658 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations) is August 6, 1984.


  • Minimize the extent to which Federal programs contribute to the unnecessary and irreversible conversion of farmland to nonagricultural uses.
  • Assure that Federal programs are administered in a manner that, to the extent practicable, will be compatible with State, unit of local government, and private programs and policies to protect farmland.

The FPPA does not authorize the Federal Government in any way to regulate the use of private or nonfederal land, or in any way affect the property rights of owners of such land.

What does "Farmland" Mean?

As used in the FPPA, 'farmland' includes prime and unique farmland, and land of statewide or local importance.

"Farmland" subject to FPPA requirements does not have to be currently used for cropland. It can be forestland, pastureland, cropland, or other land, but not water or urban built-up land.

Projects Subject to FPPA Requirements

Subject projects include any projects which may irreversibly convert (directly or indirectly) farmland (as defined above) to nonagricultural use; and are completed by a Federal agency or completed with the assistance of a Federal agency.

Assistance NRCS Provides to Other Federal Agencies

  • Acquiring or disposing of land
  • Providing financing or loans
  • Managing property
  • Providing technical assistance

Activities Subject to the FPPA

  • Most DOT highway construction
  • Most airport expansions
  • Most electric cooperative construction projects
  • Some railroad construction projects
  • Most telephone company construction projects
  • Most reservoir & hydroelectric projects
  • Most Federal agency projects which convert farmland
  • Many other projects completed with Federal assistance

Activities Not Subject to the FPPA

  • Federal permitting & licensing
  • Projects planned & completed without the assistance of a Federal agency
  • Projects on land already in urban development or used for water storage
  • Construction within an existing right-of-way purchased on or before August 4, 1984
  • Construction for national defense purposes
  • Construction of on-farm structures needed for farm operations
  • Surface mining, where restoration to agricultural use is planned
  • Construction of minor new ancillary structures such as garages or storage sheds
  • Projects with a site assessment score of 60 or less

How to Comply with the FPPA

  1. Download a Farmland Conversion Impact Rating (FCIR) form.
  2. Submit a Farmland Conversion Impact Rating (FCIR) with parts I & III completed and a detailed project description to NRCS
  3. When the FCIR is returned, complete parts VI & VII
  4. Include a copy of the completed FCIR with any environmental statement for the project
  5. After the final site selection is made, fill in the bottom of the FCIR and return a copy to the NRCS

More Compliance Information