Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP)
General Program Description
The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) is a voluntary program that provides funds to farmers and ranchers to preserve their agricultural land. The program provides matching funds to State, Tribal, and local governments and non-governmental organizations, who have farmland protection programs to purchase perpetual conservation easements. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value of the conservation easement, while the cooperating partners provide at least 25 percent of the acquisition price.
The emphasis of FRPP is to:
Protect agricultural productivity by limiting nonagricultural uses of land.
Preserve farmland for future generations
Sustain rural economic stability and development.
Maintain, restore, and enhance ecosystems
Protect open spaces.
To qualify, farmland must: 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. In addition, eligible farm or ranch land must contain one of the following:
Prime, unique, or statewide or locally important soil.
Historical or archaeological resources.
Land that furthers a State or local policy consistent with the purposes of the program.
Because FRPP project proposals are submitted from eligible entities directly to the NRCS State Office, an announcement of general FRPP funds availability is generally not made at the county level. However, interested landowners are encouraged to contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.
Applications for FRPP are under a continuous sign-up, with applications accepted by NRCS at any time. There is a cut-off date, however, where applications will be ranked and tentatively selected for funding. Cut off dates for 2013 are March 29th and May 31st. Applicants after that date will automatically be deferred to the next funding cycle.
The FRPP provides matching funds to State, Tribal, or local governments or non-governmental organizations that have active farm and ranch land protection programs, to acquire conservation easements. These easements prohibit the conversion of farm and ranch land to nonagricultural uses, and ensure that the agricultural capacity of the soils remains viable for future generations. State, Tribal, or local governments or non-governmental organizations must have an active program to purchase agricultural conservation easements to participate in the FRPP and meet the other requirements of eligible entities described below.
Eligible entities that have pending offers that meet the program eligibility may submit their proposed parcels to NRCS State offices continuously throughout the year. Entities requesting funding must submit a pending offer for each parcel in the proposal and have the required matching funds in cash at the time of application. When FRPP funds are available, the Chief of NRCS allocates funds to each NRCS State office. The State office staff ranks the proposed parcels and selects parcels for funding.
NRCS enters into cooperative agreements with eligible entities that are associated with the parcels selected and obligates the NRCS funds for their acquisition. NRCS refers to eligible entities that have entered into an FRPP cooperative agreement as “cooperating entities.” Each state will establish ranking criteria that will prioritize enrollment of FRPP parcels based on entity, landowner, and land eligibility, as well as natural resource and other agricultural related factors. Eligible landowners must be in compliance with Adjusted Gross Income limitations, and Highly Erodible Lands and Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Farm Bill before Receiving FRPP payments.
Depending on funding availability, proposals must be submitted by the eligible entities to the Wyoming State NRCS Office during the application window. FRPP Applications to be completed by cooperating entities can be found at FRPP Parcel Workbook.
For More Information:
Additional program information and fact sheets are available at Wyoming FRPP Fact Sheet or on the National Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program Home Page. To learn more about Wyoming’s priority areas, cooperating entities, and FRPP easement plans for the future please click on 2014 Wyoming State FRPP Plan.
Grant Stumbough, resource conservationist, (307) 233-6760
Cheryl Grapes, assistant state conservationist for programs, (307) 233-6757