Landowners may apply for Grassland Reserved Program

December 22, 2004

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the FY2005 Grassland Reserved Program (GRP) signup. Landowners may apply for GRP at any time however, applications received after Jan. 21, 2005 will be considered for the next evaluation period.

The GRP is a voluntary program that helps landowners and operators restore and protect grassland, while maintaining the areas as grazing lands. The program places heavy emphasis in 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 lands 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 in the law.


Primarily, land enrolled in GRP would be prohibited from being cropped or developed. Prohibited crop production includes commodity and non-commodity crops, such as, 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.

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 2005 funding level for GRP in Kentucky is $685,000.

Interested landowners are encouraged to visit their local NRCS district conservationist and review the application and ranking criteria. GRP applications are evaluated and ranked to determine which applications provide the most environmental benefits and best meets program specific goals.

For more information regarding GRP in Kentucky, please consult the following Website: or your local NRCS office.

Wetland Reserve Program

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications from qualified landowners for enrollment consideration into the Wetland Reserve Program.

Landowners can enroll their land under a 30-year or permanent easement for a lump sum up front easement payment and have USDA pay up to 100 percent of the wetland restoration costs.

Eligible lands include farmed wetland, prior converted cropland, farmed wetland pasture, farmland that become a wetland as a result of flooding, as well as farmland where hydrology previously altered will be restored.

This is a great opportunity to retire fields where crops are frequently lost to wetness, to cash out land equity, reduce farm debt, or establish a hunting club/preserve. Review the warranty easement deed carefully as the program may not meet all landowner objectives.

See your local District conservationist to determine if your land might qualify. The next ranking deadline for easement purchase consideration will be Jan. 21, 2005.

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