The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has national leadership for administering 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
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