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Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program sign-up announced

June 1 set as deadline

South Dakota

The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program administered by the USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, is accepting applications for funding on a continuous basis. NRCS State Conservationist Janet Oertly, noted that the 2008 farm bill provided for a continuous sign-up to allow eligible entities more opportunities to sign up eligible parcels. Entities must submit applications before June 1.

The FRPP is a voluntary program that helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture by preventing conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses. The program provides matching funds to State, Tribal, and local governments and nongovernmental organizations with existing farmland protection programs to purchase conservation easements. Nationally, FRPP has enrolled over 620,000 acres on 3,100 farms and ranches since Congress first authorized the program in 1996.

Eligible entities are State, Tribal, or local governments and non-government organizations that meet specific requirements. The entities must have an established farm and ranch land protection program; have the authority to hold and manage easements; have the capacity to acquire, manage, and enforce the easements; and a pending offer on eligible land.

Land proposed for funding in FRPP must meet one of three eligibility categories-- contain at least 50 percent prime and unique farmland soils and soils of statewide and local importance, contain historic or archeological resources, or contain land that supports the farm and ranch land protection policies of state or local programs. Owners of the parcels must have an adjusted gross income of less than one million dollars and be in compliance with the USDA highly erodible land and wetland compliance requirements.

For further information or applications, contact Sara Thompson, state program manager, at 605-352-1281 or sara.thompson@sd.usda.gov.



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