Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), formerly the Farmland Protection Program, is a voluntary conservation program that helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. This program provides funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farmland in agricultural uses. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) joins State, Tribal, or local governments, and non-governmental organizations to acquire conservation easements. NRCS provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value.
To qualify, the farm or ranch land must:
Contain at least 50 percent of prime, unique, statewide, or locally important soils or contain historical or archaeological sites.
Be a part of a pending offer from a State, Tribal or local government, or non-governmental organization agricultural land protection program.
Be privately owned.
Have a conservation plan on highly erodible land.
Be large enough to sustain agriculture production.
Include eligible lands such as cropland, rangeland, grassland, pasture land, and forest land that are part of an agricultural operation.
Involve landowners who do not exceed the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) provision of the 2002 Farm Bill.
Under FRPP, NRCS solicits proposals from federally recognized Indian Tribes, States, units of local government, and non-governmental organizations to cooperate in the acquisition of conservation easements on farms and ranches:
A landowner contacts and submits an application to an eligible non-governmental organization or State, Tribal, or local government that has an existing FRPP. There is no NRCS application form.
When funds are available, NRCS publishes a ï¿½equest For Proposalsï¿½(RFP) in the Federal Register to solicit funding proposals from eligible entities with existing FRPPs.
Eligible entities submit funding proposals to work with NRCS to acquire conservation easements on productive farm and ranch lands.
The NRCS State conservationist receives proposals by the date specified in the RFP.
The NRCS determines entity and land eligibility.
The NRCS State conservationist makes awards to eligible entities. NRCS enters into cooperative agreements with selected entities.
Following cooperative agreement signature by NRCS and the selected entities, funds are obligated to the project.
For More Information
NRCS issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) with a deadline of May 3, 2004. Additional information, including RFP, can be obtained below.
FRPP Projects in North Dakota
In 2003, NRCS assisted in the acquisition of conservation easements on 113 acres of farmland in North Dakota. Using funds from the FRPP, these conservation easements will protect 113 acres of North Dakota statewide important soils and archeological sites from development.
Development is moving rapidly north from the cities of Bismarck and Mandan, up the Missouri River corridor, at an increasing pace and, if the subject property and additional phases are not protected, they will all be developed within the next 5 to 15 years. Development will not only eliminate critical agricultural land, but also threaten to eliminate still more of the evidence that remains, in the form of prehistoric and historic archeological sites, of the rich heritage of lands surrounding the Missouri River.
There is ever increasing local, regional, and national concern about the conversion of valuable agricultural and and the concurrent loss of open space, wildlife habitat, and cultural, historic, and scenic values in the Missouri River corridor. Support is growing to see this unique landscape protected from development and preserved for future generations.
For information on a National perspective, see http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp/
Jennifer Heglund, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs
Email: Jennifer Heglund