SALINA - Eric B. Banks, State Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for Kansas, announced the cut-off date for submitting applications for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is January 25, 2012. Although applications may be taken at any time, only those applications submitted and ranked by January 25 will be considered for funding for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) NRCS provides technical assistance for GRP.
GRP was reauthorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill). In FY 2012 Kansas received an allocation of $1.4 million to fund GRP.
"Kansas has the finest, most productive native grassland in the world," said Banks, "and GRP offers a way for ranchers and farmers--the backbone of our economy--to ensure this unique natural resource remains a healthy and viable part of Kansas for years to come."
GRP is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property through permanent easements and rental contracts (10-year, 15-year, or 20-year). For the FY 2012 program, priority will be given to enrolling land in easements.
The program emphasizes the preservation of native and natural grasslands and shrublands, support for grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity, and the protection of grassland that is under multiple threats of conversion to other land uses.
Land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) with an expiring contract in the next 12 months is also eligible for enrollment in GRP. Enrollment options for this land are limited to permanent easements and 20-year rental contracts.
"I would encourage producers interested in preserving their grasslands to stop by a USDA Service Center and visit with NRCS or Farm Service Agency (FSA) staffs to learn more about the program," Banks said.
For More Information
If you need more information about GRP, please contact your local USDA Service Center or conservation district. To find a service center, go to the Web site: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app or listed in the telephone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture. Follow us on Twitter at @NRCS_Kansas. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.