The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program available to help landowners and operators protect, restore, and enhance eligible grassland for which grazing is the predominant use or land that is located in an area that historically has been dominated by grassland. USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) jointly administer this program. Applications can be submitted to either agency at any time but have specific cutoff dates for ranking. The next ranking cutoff date is January 6, 2012.

Eligible producers can file an application for a rental contract or easement. Participants may choose a 10, 15, or 20 year rental contract and will be paid an annual payment in an amount that is not more than 75% of the grazing value established by FSA. Easement compensation will not exceed fair market value, less the grazing value of the land encumbered by the easement. "Grazing value" means the financial worth of the land used for grazing or forage production. Certain grassland easement or rental contracts may be eligible for cost-share assistance up to 50 percent of the cost to re-establish grassland functions and values where the land has been degraded or converted to other uses.

Participants are required to implement and maintain a Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) approved conservation plan on grasslands enrolled in GRP. Conservation plans are developed to improve grassland management by enhancing infiltration, reducing soil erosion, increasing carbon sequestration, and reducing water runoff. Research by the USDA Agricultural Research Service found that improved grassland management could provide an estimated 1,013 additional pounds of forage per acre per year.

Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) & Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)

Do you have marginal pastureland (land immediately adjacent and parallel to either a perennial stream, seasonal stream, or permanent water body) that is suitable for use as a riparian buffer or for similar water quality purposes; or cropland that was planted to an agriculture commodity four of the previous six crop years from 20022007? If so, you may be interested in the CRP/CREP program.

FSA will pay ten to fifteen year annual rental payments to eligible producers in exchange for establishing long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water and air, control soil erosion and enhance wildlife habitat on qualifying land.

Under CRP, FSA will also pay up to 50% of the cost to install approved conservation practices such as fencing, stream crossing, tree planting, and the installation of livestock watering facilities.

Additional payments include:

An up-front CRP Signing Incentive Payment (CRP-SIP) of $100 per acre will be provided to eligible participants who enroll selected practices. This one-time payment will be made after the contract is approved and all payment eligibility criteria met.

An additional Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) equal to 40 percent of the eligible installation cost will be provided to eligible participants enrolling certain practices. This one-time payment will be issued after the practice is installed, eligible costs are verified, and other payment eligibility criteria are met.

A one time, lump-sum incentive payment for acres enrolled and accepted into CREP from the State of West Virginia.

Producers may enroll in CRP/CREP at any time under continuous sign-up. Offers are automatically accepted provided the land and producer meet certain eligibility requirements.

For information on FSA or NRCS programs contact the Gilmer-Calhoun FSA Office at (304) 462-7171 extension 2 or visit the office located in the Glenville Post Office Building, Room 122. Special accommodations will be made, upon request, for persons with disabilities, vision or hearing impairments. Please call if accommodations are required.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

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