First established in 1996, the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) provides matching grants to states, local, tribal and non-profit entities for the purchase of agricultural conservation easements. The program is administered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Under current rules, FRPP funding is provided through a grant to the applicant that must be matched with a 50 per cent share of the cost of the easement. Grant applications are submitted by a state or local entity, or eligible nonprofit, to the State Conservationist, a federal employee who oversees all programs in that state.
Existing FRPP program criteria require that eligible FRPP projects must be threatened by development and located near agricultural infrastructure and markets. Qualifying farmlands must also have a conservation plan for highly erodible land, be large enough to have infrastructure to support agricultural development, and have surrounding parcels that can support agricultural development. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to farmland protection through the use of farmland protection techniques and by establishing a capacity to monitor and enforce conservation easements. There must be a pending offer from the landowner.
For more information on the FRPP program, please reference the U.S. Department of Agriculture website.