Grassland Reserve Program
Please Note: "Authorizations for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) expired Sept. 30, 2012. No new applications for these programs can be accepted. We will continue to service prior-year contracts."
The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program that helps landowners and operators restore and protect grassland, including rangeland and pastureland, and certain other lands, while maintaining the areas as grazing lands.
The program emphasizes support for grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity, and grasslands under the greatest threat of conversion. GRP is reauthorized in the 2008 Farm Bill. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) jointly administer the program in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service. Funding for the GRP comes from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).
Applications may be filed for a rental agreement or easement with NRCS or FSA at any time. Batching dates are established to evaluate and select applications for funding.
Participants voluntarily limit future use of the land while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices; produce hay, mow, or harvest for seed production (subject to certain restrictions during the nesting season of bird species that are in significant decline or those that are protected under Federal or State law); and conduct fire rehabilitation and construct firebreaks and fences.
Rental Contracts – Participants have the option of choosing a 10-year, 15-year, or 20-year rental contract. USDA will provide annual payments in an amount that is not more than 75 percent of the grazing value of the land covered by the agreement for the life of the agreement. Payments will be disbursed on the agreement anniversary date each year.
Permanent Easement - This is a conservation easement in perpetuity. Easement payments for this option equal the fair market value, less the grazing value of the land encumbered by the easement. These values will be determined using an appraisal process. In addition, the program allows for the Conservation Easement to be held by a third-party (such as a Land Trust) if: 1) the third-party has entered into a Cooperative Agreement, where the NRCS contribution is limited to 50% of the acquisition cost, or 2) the easement is transferred to the third-party, pending approval by the Chief of the NRCS
Restoration Agreement - If restoration is determined necessary by NRCS, a restoration agreement will be incorporated into the rental agreement or easement. CCC will provide up to 90 percent of the restoration costs on lands that have never been cultivated, and up to 75 percent of the cost on restored grasslands. Participants will be paid upon certification of the completion of the approved practice(s) by NRCS or an approved third party. Participants may contribute to the application of a structural or technical practice through in-kind contributions.
Applications will be evaluated and selected based on state ranking criteria.
Landowners who can provide clear title are eligible to submit an application for the easement option. Landowners and others who have general control of the acreage may submit an application for a rental agreement.
The Adjusted Gross Income provision of the 2008 Farm Bill impacts eligibility for GRP and several other 2008 Farm Bill programs. Refer to 7 CFR Part 1400 for additional information.
Eligible land includes privately owned lands, which include private and Tribal lands. Publicly owned land is not eligible. Land is eligible for funding if it is: 1) grassland or land that contains forbs or shrubs (including improved rangeland and pastureland), or; 2) located in an area that has been historically dominated by grassland, forbs, and shrubs. Land already protected under an existing contract, easement, or deed restriction is not eligible to be enrolled.
Chery Grapes, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, (307) 233-6757