Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program


To provide funding to eligible entities to purchase conservation easements to limit conversion to non-agricultural uses of farm and ranch lands that contain prime, unique, or important soils; that contain historical and archaeological resources; or that support the policy of a state or local farmland protection program.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
C - Direct Payments For Specified Use; Z - Salaries and Expenses
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
Food Security Act of 1985. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date., Title XII, Part Subtitle D, Public Law 99-198, 16 U.S.C. 3830
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
An eligible entity was any local or State agency, county or groups of counties, municipality, town or township, soil and water conservation district, or Indian tribe or tribal organization, that has a farmland protection program that purchases conservation easements for the purpose of protecting agricultural use and related conservation values by limiting conversion to non- agricultural uses of land, and that has pending offers. This program was available in all 50 States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands. The program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 effective February 7, 2014. No new enrollments are authorized after that date.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Landowners must be in compliance with the Wetland Compliance (WC) and Highly Erodible Land (HEL) provisions of the Farm Bill and met the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitations in the Farm Bill.
Entities must prove their eligibility by providing documents indicating their commitment to long-term conservation of agricultural lands through legal devices, such as right-to-farm laws, agricultural districts, zoning, or land use planning; uses of voluntary approaches to protect farmland from conversion to non-agricultural uses; and their capability to acquire, manage, and enforce conservation easements. Programs must have a systematic plan for acquiring conservation easements, have a proven commitment to agricultural land protection, and sufficient funds and staff to monitor and enforce conservation easements.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. Environmental impact information is not required for this program. An environmental impact assessment is not required for this listing. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372. Entities must submit an application form and supporting data for each parcel to the appropriate State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date.
Award Procedure
NRCS State Offices will rank parcels individually and award funding to the highest-ranked parcels. NRCS State Offices will obligate funds to the eligible entities associated with the highest-ranked parcels.
Not applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
This program was repealed by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill), effective February 7, 2014. Therefore, no new enrollments are authorized for this program after that date.
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Criteria used for selecting proposals are: the percent of prime, unique, and important farmland in the parcel to be protected; percent of cropland, pastureland, grassland, and rangeland in the parcel to be protected; ratio of the total acres of land in the parcel to be protected to average farm size in the county according to the most recent USDA Census of Agriculture; decrease in the percentage of acreage of farm and ranch land in the county in which the parcel is located between the last two USDA Censuses of Agriculture; percent population growth in the county as documented by the United States Census; population density (population per square mile) as documented by the most recent United States Census; proximity of the parcel to other protected land, such as military installations land owned in fee title by the United States or a State or local government, or by an entity whose purpose is to protect agricultural use and related conservation values, or land that is already subject to an easement or deed restriction that limits the conversion of the land to nonagricultural use; and the proximity of the parcel to other agricultural operations and infrastructure.
How may assistance be used?
Funds are provided to purchase conservation easements in partnership with States, Tribes, or local government entities, or eligible nongovernmental organizations (eligible entities). The Federal share for any easement acquisition is limited to a maximum of 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement. A conservation plan is required for highly erodible lands enrolled under an FRPP easement. Conservation easements are perpetual easements. A right of enforcement is incorporated in the conservation easement deed for the protection of the Federal investment. A failure of title would require the eligible entity to reimburse the United States for the Federal share of the easement value.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
Records of easements acquired will be maintained for the life of the easements by the cooperating entity and NRCS.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is voluntary. 25%. Each eligible entity is required to contribute cash towards the conservation easement acquisition. The eligible entity must contribute a minimum of 25 percent of the purchase price of the easement (appraised fair market value minus the landowner donation). Each eligible entity is required to fund its own administrative costs in acquiring easements, such as appraisals, surveys, title searches, and costs incurred in managing and enforcing the easements.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Easements must be closed within 18 months of the end of the fiscal year in which the cooperative agreement is signed. Federal funds must be disbursed within 2 to 5 years after signing the cooperative agreement. Technical assistance to maintain the conservation plan, however, is provided by NRCS through the life of the easement. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Lump.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
For more information on this and other related conservation programs, consult the local telephone directory where your land is located for the location of the nearest USDA service center. For a list of NRCS State offices with telephone numbers and addresses, information is available on the internet at
Headquarters Office
Danielle Balduff
1400 Independence Ave, SW 4527
Washington, DC 20250 US
Phone: 202-720-6168
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 22$0.00; FY 23 est $0.00; FY 24 est $10,587,000.00; FY 21$0.00; FY 20$658,000.00; FY 19$0.00; FY 18$1,000.00; FY 17$917,000.00; FY 16$770,000.00; - (Salaries and Expenses) FY 22$23,518,000.00; FY 23 est $25,928,000.00; FY 24 est $4,537,000.00; FY 21$17,714,000.00; FY 20$10,547,000.00; FY 19$10,486,000.00; FY 18$2,693,000.00; FY 17$6,738,000.00; FY 16$2,057,000.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
$2,700 to $1,000,000 per landowner. Average: $97,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Repealed by Section 2704 of the Agricultural Act of 2014 and FRPP functions consolidated into the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), authorized by Section 2301 of the Agricultural Act of 2014.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.