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Kansas NRCS receives funding for farm, ranch lands program


"Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service has received $1.2 million for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program for fiscal year 2011," announced Eric B. Banks, state conservationist for NRCS in Kansas.

"FRPP provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranch lands in agricultural uses," explained Banks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides funds to state, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations (eligible entities) to acquire conservation easements from landowners. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement and the eligible entities are responsible for the rest.

Proposals can be submitted by the eligible entities to the Kansas NRCS State Office on a continuous basis throughout the year.

All proposals submitted to the Kansas NRCS State Office prior to April 8 will be reviewed for funding consideration," states Banks. "The individual farms and ranches are evaluated and ranked individually and funds are obligated to the eligible entities associated with the highest ranked farms and ranches through a cooperative agreement."

"To qualify, the land must have 50 percent prime, unique, or important farmland soils; have a historic or archeological resource; or have land that supports the policy of a state or local farm and ranch lands protection program," explains Banks.

The land must also be part of a pending offer from a local, state, tribe, or non-governmental organization farmland protection program; be privately owned; have a conservation plan for highly erodible land; be large enough to sustain agricultural production; be accessible to markets for what the land produces; have adequate infrastructure and agricultural support services; and have surrounding parcels of land that can support long-term agricultural production.

Landowners must meet eligibility requirements for adjusted gross income and compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill which is documented with the local county USDA Service Center prior to a proposal being submitted.

Landowners interested in protecting their land from development so it remains in agricultural production will need to work with an eligible entity to receive funding assistance through the FRPP. Eligible entities in Kansas are non-governmental land trusts and organizations that are qualified to acquire and manage conservation easements within the state.

In FY 2010, NRCS provided $811,943 in matching funds to enroll 5,561 acres in the FRPP.

For more information regarding the FRPP, go to www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp or call the NRCS State Office at 785-823-4500.

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