Do you own farmland that you would like to see remain in agriculture for generations? You could be a potential applicant for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service's (NRCS) Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP). While applications are accepted on a continuing basis, the batching date for this year's funding is February 15, 2013.
"The FRPP program helps ensure that valuable, productive land is protected," said Nancy Ferlow, acting state conservationist for NRCS in Connecticut. "Since 1996, NRCS has provided more than $32 million to protect farms in Connecticut."
FRPP provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep farms in agricultural uses. Working through existing partner programs, USDA works with state, tribal, or local governments and nongovernmental organizations to purchase conservation easements from landowners. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value of the conservation easement.
To qualify, farmland must be part of a pending offer from a qualified state, tribe, or local farmland protection program; be privately owned; contain at least 50 percent prime, statewide, or local important farmland soils; and include at least one-third cropland, grassland, and pasture land of the total acreage. All funds will be awarded to the highest-ranking eligible parcels through a statewide, competitive process. Applications submitted after February 15, 2013, will be held for the next funding opportunity.
For more information, visit www.ct.nrcs.usda.gov/programs
, or contact your nearest USDA Field Office.