Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)
Application deadline for 2013 funding consideration: April 5, 2013.
California USDA Service Centers will be accepting applications from eligible landowners through April 5, 2013 for enrollment in the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). The purpose of GRP is to assist agricultural producers in protecting the agricultural viability of grazing landscapes and their associated environmental benefits including: improved water quality, protection and recovery of wildlife species, protection and restoration of native plant communities, and nutrient and water cycling benefits related to properly functioning watersheds.
GRP targets vulnerable grasslands that are subject to conversion to urban uses, cropland, or other non-grazing uses through the use of perpetual easements, or through 10, 15, or 20-year rental agreements.
GRP is administered through the coordinated efforts of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Screening and Ranking Applications
Applications will be screened and ranked based on a variety of factors, including the potential threat of conversion to non-grazing uses, biodiversity, presence of native vegetation, funding support, type of agreement, habitat diversity, and current management practices being implemented.
Privately owned and Tribal lands can be enrolled in the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). The land must be grassland, including rangeland, pastureland (including improved rangeland and pastureland), shrubland and other lands. Incidental lands may be included in a GRP application to allow for the efficient administration of an agreement or easement.
Land is not eligible for GRP if it is already protected under an existing contract, easement or deed restriction, or if the land is in ownership by any entity whose purpose is to protect and conserve grassland and related conservation values.
There is no maximum or minimum amount of land that may be enrolled by a participant in the program, however the 2008 Farm Bill limits annual payments for both rental and restoration agreements to a maximum of $50,000.
Landowners who can provide clear title on privately owned lands are eligible to participate under the easement option. Landowners or lessees who can demonstrate control of the land for the length of the contract may submit an application for a rental agreement.
To be eligible for GRP, applicants must also:
In addition, producers who enroll land in GRP must be willing to implement a USDA approved grazing management plan for the term of the agreement. The grazing management plan may be modified upon mutual agreement by the producer and the NRCS.
How to Apply for GRP in California
Landowners should submit form NRCS-CPA-1200 to the nearest Natural Resources Conservation Service Field Office or Farm Service Agency County Office. USDA Service Center contact information for can be found at: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app?state=ca.
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Information for Cooperating Entities Applying for GRP Funds
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized USDA to enter into cooperative agreements with entities (State, Tribal, or local government or qualified non-governmental organizations) to enable them to acquire easements. NRCS will pay up to 50 percent of the purchase price of a GRP conservation easement as determined by a Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisals Practices (USPAP) appraisal. GRP funds may not be used for easement transaction costs, such as surveys, appraisal, title insurance, legal fees, costs of conservation easement monitoring, and other related transaction costs. Entities may apply at the California NRCS State Office for parcels with pending offers that meet GRP eligibility requirements.
To ensure your application is competitive for GRP funding, please be as thorough as possible in providing the requested information on the Entity Worksheet and Landowner Interview Worksheet. Provide supplemental information if you feel this will help provide a more accurate or complete picture of the easement offering.
For questions or to submit applications, contact:
NRCS National GRP Information