Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program

To provide funding to eligible entities to purchase conservation easements to limit conversion to non-agricultural uses of farm and ranch lands that contain prime, unique, or important soils; that contain historical and archaeological resources; or that support the policy of a state or local farmland
protection program.
Related Programs10.069 Conservation Reserve Program; 10.072 Wetlands Reserve Program; 10.920 Grassland Reserve Program; 10.922 Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP); 10.931 Agricultural Conservation Easement Program

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

For a list of NRCS State Offices with telephone numbers and addresses, see Appendix IV of the Catalog.



Selected Recipients for this Program


RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Multiple Recipients $ 59,774   2012-03-072013-09-30
Tecumseh Land Preservation Association $ 207,750   2012-04-112013-09-30
Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department Of $ 1,026,947   2012-03-092013-09-30
Hunterdon Land Trust, A New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation, The $ 832,500   2012-03-222013-09-30
Southeast Land Trust Of New Hampshire $ 950,000   2012-03-162013-09-30
Agriculture, Michigan Department Of $ 611,421   2012-02-022013-09-30
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board $ 1,284,815   2012-02-272013-09-30
Clarke, County Of $ 423,930   2012-01-252013-09-30
Five Rivers Conservation Trust $ 531,750   2012-01-302013-09-30
Five Rivers Conservation Trust $ 340,000   2012-01-302013-09-30



Program Accomplishments

Not Applicable.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Funds are provided to purchase conservation easements in partnership with States, Tribes, or local government entities, or eligible nongovernmental organizations (eligible entities).

The Federal share for any easement acquisition is limited to a maximum of 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement.

A conservation plan is required for highly erodible lands enrolled under an FRPP easement.

Conservation easements are perpetual easements.

A right of enforcement is incorporated in the conservation easement deed for the protection of the Federal investment.

A failure of title would require the eligible entity to reimburse the United States for the Federal share of the easement value.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

An eligible entity was any local or State agency, county or groups of counties, municipality, town or township, soil and water conservation district, or Indian tribe or tribal organization, that has a farmland protection program that purchases conservation easements for the purpose of protecting agricultural use and related conservation values by limiting conversion to non- agricultural uses of land, and that has pending offers.

This program was available in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands.

The program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 effective February 7, 2014.

No new enrollments are authorized after that date.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Landowners must be in compliance with the Wetland Compliance (WC) and Highly Erodible Land (HEL) provisions of the Farm Bill and met the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations in the Farm Bill.

Credentials/Documentation

Entities must prove their eligibility by providing documents indicating their commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands through legal devices, such as right-to-farm laws, agricultural districts, zoning, or land use planning; uses of voluntary approaches to protect farmland from conversion to non-agricultural uses; and their capability to acquire, manage, and enforce conservation easements. Programs must have a systematic plan for acquiring conservation easements, have a proven commitment to agricultural land protection, and sufficient funds and staff to monitor and enforce conservation easements. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Entities must submit an application form and supporting data for each parcel to the appropriate State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372.

Application Procedures

This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date.

Award Procedures

NRCS State Offices will rank parcels individually and award funding to the highest-ranked parcels. NRCS State Offices will obligate funds to the eligible entities associated with the highest-ranked parcels.

Deadlines

Not Applicable.

Authorization

Food Security Act of 1985. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date. , Title XII, Part Subtitle D, Public Law 99-198, 16 U.S.C 3830.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date.

Appeals

Not Applicable.

Renewals

Not Applicable.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

This program has no statutory formula. Matching Requirements: Percent: 25%. Each eligible entity is required to contribute cash towards the conservation easement acquisition. The eligible entity must contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the purchase price of the easement (appraised fair market value minus the landowner donation). Each eligible entity is required to fund its own administrative costs in acquiring easements, such as appraisals, surveys, title searches, and costs incurred in managing and enforcing the easements. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Easements must be closed within 18 months of the end of the fiscal year in which the cooperative agreement is signed. Federal funds must be disbursed within 2 to 5 years after signing the cooperative agreement. Technical assistance to maintain the conservation plan, however, is provided by NRCS through the life of the easement. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: lump sum.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

Annual monitoring reports on the status of each easements acquired will be prepared by the eligible entity and submitted to the NRCS State Office.

Fund disbursement reports are prepared by NRCS.

Cash reports are not applicable.

Progress reports are not applicable.

Expenditure reports are not applicable.

Performance monitoring is not applicable.

Audits

No audits are required for this program.

Records

Records of easements acquired will be maintained for the life of the easements by the cooperating entity and NRCS.

Financial Information

Account Identification

12-1004-0-1-302; 12-4336-0-1-302; 12-1804-0-1-302.

Obigations

(Salaries) FY 16 $2,057,000; FY 17 est $42,804,000; and FY 18 est $0. (Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 16 $770,000; FY 17 est $16,418,000; and FY 18 est $96,000,000

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$2,700 to $1,000,000 per landowner. Average: $97,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

Repealed by Section 2704 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 and FRPP functions consolidated into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), authorized by Section 2301 of the Agricultural Act of 2014.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices. For a list of NRCS State Offices with telephone numbers and addresses, see Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

John Rissler 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, District of Columbia 20250 Email: John.Rissler@wdc.usda.gov Phone: 202-720-3524

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Criteria used for selecting proposals are: the percent of prime, unique, and important farmland in the parcel to be protected; percent of cropland, pastureland, grassland, and rangeland in the parcel to be protected; ratio of the total acres of land in the parcel to be protected to average farm size in the county according to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture; decrease in the percentage of acreage of farm and ranch land in the county in which the parcel is located between the last two USDA Censuses of Agriculture; percent population growth in the county as documented by the United States Census; population density (population per square mile) as documented by the most recent United States Census; proximity of the parcel to other protected land, such as military installations land owned in fee title by the United States or a State or local government, or by an entity whose purpose is to protect agricultural use and related conservation values, or land that is already subject to an easement or deed restriction that limits the conversion of the land to nonagricultural use; and the proximity of the parcel to other agricultural operations and infrastructure.



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