Grassland Reserve Program
Easement Program Funding Expiration
With the enactment of the new Farm Bill, easement programs have been revised under a new program, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Information and guidance will be posted as it is developed.
Sign-up for this program is on a continuous basis. Landowners who are interested in this program can apply at their local county USDA Service Center.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency are coordinating implementation of GRP, which helps landowners restore, protect, and enhance grassland, pastureland, and certain other lands and provides assistance for rehabilitating grasslands. The program will conserve vulnerable grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses.
Priority grasslands targeted include grasslands threatened by both agricultural and non-agricultural development, grasslands that enhance plant and animal biodiversity, and grasslands currently used for grazing operations.
Enrollment options include:
Permanent Easements. Payments are based on the fair market value of the property less the grazing value.
Rental Agreements. 10, 15, or 20 year options are available.
Restoration Agreements. 50 percent cost share may be placed on land enrolled in an easement or rental contract.
These documents require Acrobat Reader
GRP Application Form
GRP Fact Sheet
2013 GRP Easement Ranking Criteria
2013 GRP Rental Contract Ranking Criteria
Making Offers to Landowners
In Vermont, offers are made to easement applicants based on a Geographic Area Rate Cap or GARC. The GARCs for Vermont were developed by completing a market analysis of land recently sold in each county that is similar to the lands that the NRCS acquires through this program. This market survey was completed by a local realtor and appraiser. For the analysis, lands were placed into three categories: 1) land with few to moderate limitations for either development or agriculture; 2) land with severe limitations for development but slight to moderate limitations for agriculture, such as floodplains; and 3) land with severe limitations for both development and agriculture. The GARC is based on 75% of Fair Market value in each category minus the grazing value, on a region basis - Lake Champlain Region or Connecticut Region. Determining what category your land is in means determining the soil types you have on the land you've enrolled in the program. You most likely have more than one soil type on your land and therefore multiple category GARCs, so your offer will be based on the percent soils in each category.
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2013 GRP Geographic Area Rate Caps
Click here to locate a soils map of your land.
Links to Other Useful Information
Electronic application filing is available through the Electronic Government website.
For additional local information or to apply, contact your Local NRCS Office.
VT NRCS Office Locations and Contact Information
More GRP Information (National NRCS Website)
Phone: 802-951-6796 ext. 245