Grassland Reserve Program applications being taken

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Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kentucky is accepting applications for the Grassland Reserve Program. Although GRP applications are continually accepted, the application ranking cutoff date for 2011 is March 31. Applications received after March 31, 2011 will be deferred until the next ranking cycle.

The Grassland Reserve Program is a voluntary program offering landowners and operators the opportunity to protect grazing uses and related conservation values by conserving and restoring grassland resources. 

The focus of GRP in Kentucky will emphasize preservation of native and naturalized grasslands and protection of grazing operations with excellent land management practices. Those easement offers that enhance or establish native grasses, will receive ranking preference for easements while rental offers that exhibit proper grazing use will receive ranking preference for rentals.

The compensation portion of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 for GRP authorizes easement compensation based on the fair market value of the land, as determined by an appraisal or an area-wide market analysis or survey, which takes into account the grassland value, and is limited to a geographic cap or the landowner offer.  GRP rental contracts provide selected landowners and operators to receive annual payments to maintain or restore grassland functions and values for the length of the contract. 

All participants in GRP are required to implement a grazing management plan which will be developed in conjunction with NRCS.

Eligible land for GRP includes grasslands for which gazing or haying is the predominant use, or land that has been historically dominated by grassland, forbs, or shrub land.  Restoration for land enrolled in GRP has a maximum cost share rate of 50 percent.

For more information, visit http://www.ky.nrcs.usda.gov/programs. Scroll down to Grassland Reserve Program.

Interested landowners and operators should contact Billy Finkbeiner, District Conservationist, at 270-765-2273.