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Friday, April 25, 2014

Need help conserving your agricultural lands?

HONOLULU, Hawaii—Are you interested in the permanent protection and conservation of your agricultural lands? Do you need assistance to keep your farm or ranchland in agriculture? The Natural Resources Conservation Service, a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is advising landowners to contact their local NRCS office to determine eligibility for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program. Applications for the 2014 ranking period for the program are due at your local NRCS office by the close of business on Jan. 17, 2014.

FRPP is a voluntary program to help farmers and ranchers preserve their agricultural land. The program provides matching funds to cooperating entities with farmland protection programs, such as state, tribal, and local governments, and nongovernmental organizations such as land trusts. FRPP may provide up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of a conservation easement. Cooperating entities may apply for multiple properties under one FRPP application, but must have matching funds for each proposed property at the time of application.

NRCS in the Pacific Islands Area accepts applications for FRPP funding on a continuous basis throughout the year. However, to be considered for ranking and possible selection in fiscal year 2014, complete eligible applications must be received at the local NRCS office before the close of business on Jan. 17, 2014. Applications received after this date will be held for a future ranking period.

“We are hoping that more landowners will work with land trusts to use FRPP to permanently conserve most productive croplands and grasslands. In addition, this is the only available easement program of USDA at this time. The Wetlands Reserve Program, Grassland Reserve Program, and Conservation Reserve Program expired on Sept. 30, 2013,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS acting director.

For more information about the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program or to find the Natural Resources Conservation Service Office nearest you, visit www.pia.nrcs.usda.gov. (NRCS)

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