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News Release

Release No. 0122.06
Contact:
Jim Brownlee (202)720-4623
Sylvia Rainford (202)720-2536

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USDA PROVIDES MORE THAN $70 MILLION TO PROTECT FARM AND RANCH LANDS

WASHINGTON, April 10, 2006-Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced the availability of more than $70 million to protect agricultural land in 50 states and Puerto Rico through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) in fiscal year 2006.

"Preserving the nation's prime agricultural farm and ranch lands helps to ensure a vibrant future for American agriculture," said Johanns. "Once protected by conservation easements, this land will be shielded from development pressure and continue to support our safe and abundant food supply."

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals from state, federally recognized tribal and local governments and non-governmental organizations interested in working together to acquire conservation easements on farms and ranches. NRCS State Offices must receive proposals by 5:00 p.m. EDT on May 11, 2006. NRCS is expected to announce final project selections in June.

Since the program's inception in 1996, more than 277,811 acres of farm and ranch land have been protected in 43 states. FRPP protects productive agricultural land by purchasing conservation easements to limit conversion of farm and ranch lands to non-agricultural uses. Using existing programs, USDA partners with State, tribal, or local governments and non-government organizations to acquire conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement in this voluntary program. State and local entities can match that amount, including the use of landowner donations.

The eligible farm or ranch must have the following components:

  • contain productive soils or historic or archaeological sites;
  • be part of a pending offer from a non-governmental organization, state, tribe or local farmland protection program;
  • be 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.

Below are FRPP allocations for fiscal year 2006 by state:

 
State Allocations ($)
Alabama 701,829
Alaska 1,881,436
Arizona 296,945
Arkansas 156,001
California 2,444,360
Colorado 2,307,257
Connecticut 3,133,156
Delaware 2,416,082
Florida 1,696,378
Georgia 794,706
Hawaii 1,895,088
Idaho 625,797
Illinois 1,236,160
Indiana 207,861
Iowa 488,142
Kansas 500,126
Kentucky 1,968,111
Louisiana 195,121
Maine 949,359
Maryland 3,015,238
Massachusetts 3,757,518
Michigan 1,812,583
Minnesota 563,489
Mississippi 161,825
Missouri 527,902
Montana 1,575,741
Nebraska 356,462
Nevada 1,657,224
New Hampshire 3,378,849
New Jersey 4,125,572
New Mexico 309,922
New York 2,242,108
North Carolina 1,758,682
North Dakota 415,655
Ohio 2,013,637
Oklahoma 719,931
Oregon 622,813
Pennsylvania 2,843,472
Rhode Island 3,818,384
South Carolina 734,293
South Dakota 156,001
Tennessee 551,831
Texas 1,147,736
Utah 836,029
Vermont 3,139,224
Virginia 932,024
Washington 1,191,302
West Virginia 1,933,575
Wisconsin 1,571,753
Wyoming 551,334
Puerto Rico 146,413
TOTAL 72,462,437

The Announcement of Program Funding can be found at http://www.grants.gov and http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp. Additional FRPP information also can be found at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/frpp.