SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE
Bruce Petersen, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, announced today that NRCS is accepting applications for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program.
FRPP provides financial assistance funds to help local or state governments, or non-government organizations and federally-recognized Tribes to purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranch land in agriculture.
Applications from qualifying entities that have pending offers with private agricultural landowners will be accepted through February 1, 2010. While applications are accepted on a continuous basis for the FY 2010 program year, for purposes of application selection, applications received by February 1 will be considered in the first funding cycle.
To qualify, the farm or ranch land must meet the following five criteria:
- Must be privately-owned,
- In Nevada, the property submitted for FRPP must contain at least 50 percent of prime farmland, or be lands of statewide importance and are irrigated, unless otherwise determined by the Nevada NRCS State Conservationist,
- Contain historical or archeological sites that are:
o Consensus determined by the State Historical Preservation Office or the Tribal Preservation Office, or
o Formally nominated to the National Register, and
o Be part of a pending offer from a state, tribal, or local government, or a non-governmental organization’s agricultural land protection program,
- Must have a conservation plan on acreage determined to be highly erodible, and
- Must contain sufficient acres to sustain agricultural production.
Changes made to FRPP under the 2008 Farm Bill include:
- Purpose expanded to protect agricultural lands by limiting non-agricultural uses,
- Establishes a certification process for entities,
- Facilitates the purchase of conservation easements by qualified entities,
- Eligible entities must have a plan for administering easements that meets the purposes of the FRPP,
- Entity share of the cost cannot be less than 25 percent of the acquisition purchase price,
- Allows inclusion of forestlands (must not exceed two-thirds of the easement acreage) as an eligible land use; forestlands must contribute to the economic vitality of an agricultural operation or serve as a buffer to protect the agricultural operation, and,
- Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for the landowner is capped at $1 million based on the three tax years immediately preceding the year the cooperative agreement is signed; an exemption is provided where two-thirds of the AGI is derived from farming, ranching or forestry operations.
To qualify, the landowner must be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions of the Farm Bill and must meet the terms of the AGI.
For application information, go to Nevada NRCS Web site at http://www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp.html or contact Peggy Hughes, Nevada NRCS State Office, (775) 857-8500, ext. 103.
Applications must be sent on or before February 1 to the Nevada State Conservationist, Attn: Peggy Hughes, 1365 Corporate Blvd., Reno, NV 89502.
Applications will be ranked as they are received and will be accepted on a continuous basis. Eligible entities are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible.