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USDA to Provide $84 Million to Protect Farm and Ranch Land

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman recently announced that $84 million will be available to protect farm and ranch land through USDA’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP).

“The Bush Administration is committed to conserving our natural resources,” Veneman said.  “Through this program, USDA will work cooperatively with states, tribes, local communities and individuals to protect farm and ranch lands.”

Through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), FRPP protects productive agricultural land by purchasing conservation easements to limit conversion of farm and ranch lands to non-agricultural uses.  NRCS will accept proposals from interested state, tribal and local governments and non-governmental organizations until the end of April 2004.  The Request for Proposals will be published in the March 17 edition of the Federal Register.

For those proposals selected for FRPP funding, USDA enters into agreements with selected entities to support their efforts to protect soils and historical and archaeological sites.  USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement.

To participate in FRPP, landowners agree to limit the use of their land for nonagricultural purposes and to develop and implement a conservation plan. To qualify, the farm or ranch land must contain productive soils or historic or archaeological sites and be:

  • part of a pending offer from a nongovernmental organization, state, tribe or local farmland protection program;

  • privately owned;

  • covered by a conservation plan;
    large enough to sustain agricultural production;

  • accessible to markets for what the land produces; and

  • surrounded by parcels of land that can support long-term agricultural production.

For a copy of the FRPP Request for Proposals or more information regarding the program, please consult the following Website:  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp/

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