Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced that more than $78 million is available to protect farm and ranch land in all 50 states and Puerto Rico through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP).

"This program helps ensure that valuable, productive land is protected," said Veneman. "The funds will be used to purchase conservation easements to limit conversion of farm and ranch lands to nonagricultural uses."

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will accept FRPP proposals from interested state, tribal and local governments and nongovernmental organizations until mid-March 2005 to manage the program. A Request for Proposals will be published in the Federal Register soon.

For those proposals selected for funding, USDA enters into agreements with nongovernmental organizations, states, federally recognized tribes and local governments to support their efforts to protect soils and historical and archaeological sites. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement.

To participate in the program, landowners agree to limit the use of their land for nonagricultural purposes and to develop and implement a conservation plan. The farm or ranch land must contain productive soils or historic or archaeological sites and be:

  • part of a pending offer from a nongovernmental organization, state, tribe or local farmland protection program;
  • privately owned;
  • covered by a conservation plan;
  • large enough to sustain agricultural production;
  • accessible to markets for what the land produces; and
  • surrounded by parcels of land that can support long-term agricultural production.

Additional information on FRPP, including the Request for Proposals, is on the Web at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp.

Below is a state list of funds available to purchase conservation easements.

State Funds Available

Alabama $848,800

Alaska $1,554,313

Arizona $360,100

Arkansas $189,800

California $2,955,300

Colorado $2,722,100

Connecticut $2,534,694

Delaware $3,184,532

Florida $2,271,800

Georgia $961,800

Hawaii $1,917,236

Idaho $752,900

Illinois $1,302,500

Indiana $250,000

Iowa $655,300

Kansas $600,000

Kentucky $2,226,500

Louisiana $235,700

Maine $1,547,979

Maryland $3,945,900

Massachusetts $3,479,450

Michigan $2,100,400

Minnesota $672,000

Mississippi $200,000

Missouri $630,400

Montana $1,859,100

Nebraska $430,300

Nevada $1,415,860

New Hampshire $2,683,255

New Jersey $4,548,630

New Mexico $360,100

New York $2,728,900

North Carolina $2,044,800

North Dakota $241,500

Ohio $2,442,300

Oklahoma $930,600

Oregon $440,700

Pennsylvania $3,481,300

Rhode Island $2,728,085

South Carolina $1,401,237

South Dakota $189,800

Tennessee $668,000

Texas $1,130,500

Utah $804,100

Vermont $2,829,227

Virginia $1,110,200

Washington $1,334,600

West Virginia $1,645,503

Wisconsin $1,780,300

Wyoming $663,999

Puerto Rico $200,000

Total $78,192,400

USDA News