Natural Resources Conservation Service news

June 15, 2004

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has extended the 2004 ranking period for the Grassland Reserve Program.

Landowners may apply for GRP at any time; however, applications received by July 2 will be considered for the 2004 program year. Applications received after July 2 will be held until the next evaluation period.

The GRP is a voluntary program that helps landowners and operators restore and protect grasslands, while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. The program places heavy emphasis on protecting grasslands under the greatest threat of conversion. Conversion issues include the loss of grassland to urban land, cropland, or grassland being loss to invasive species.

In Kentucky, eligible land for GRP includes: grasslands, land that historically has been dominated by grasslands and forbs, and certain land that are in planned rotations.


There are no maximum limitations on the amount of land that may be offered for GRP. However, landowners with eligible land must submit a minimum of 40 contiguous acres to be considered for GRP, according to the provisions of the law.

Primarily, land enrolled in GRP would be prohibited from being cropped or developed. Prohibited crop production includes commodity and non-commodity crops (vineyards and fruit trees). Prohibited development includes housing, upgrading existing farm roads, construction of new buildings or structures, placement of billboard signs, and installing new utilities.

The payment process for GRP depends on the enrollment option. Payments for rental agreements are based on 75 percent of the grazing value in an annual payment.

The annual payment will be made for each year until the rental agreement is expired.

"For Boyle County the rental agreement per year is $11 per acre," said District Conservationist Mary Ann Sharp.

Payments for easements are based on appraised values. One appraised value is based on the "best economic use." The local economy will have an effect on what is the best economic use of the land. The second appraised value determines the "grazing value." The grazing value is then subtracted from the best economic use value and an offer is made from the government to the landowner for a permanent easement. For a 30-year easement, the amount offered will be 30 percent of the permanent easement value.

The 2004 funding level for GRP in Kentucky is just over $1 million.

Interested landowners are encouraged to visit their local NRCS office and review the application and ranking criteria. Applications are evaluated and ranked to determine which provide the most environmental benefits and best meet program-specific goals. For more information, visit

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