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The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 amended the Farmland Protection Program, established by the Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform.

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Presentation on theme: "The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 amended the Farmland Protection Program, established by the Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 amended the Farmland Protection Program, established by the Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act of 1996, and reauthorized by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program

2 The Program was named the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program to describe best the types of land the program seeks to protect

3 Protection Facilitate and provide funding for the purchase of conservation easements or other interests in land for the purpose of protecting the agricultural use and related conservation values by limiting nonagricultural uses of the land Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program Goals

4 The program provides matching funds to State, Tribal, and local governments, and nongovernmental organizations to purchase conservation easements

5 Summary of 2008 Act Changes Expand the program purpose to protecting ag lands by limiting non-ag uses Shift program focus from purchasing conservation easements to facilitating the purchase of easements by eligible entities

6 2008 Changes Continued Require the Secretary to enter into agreements with eligible entities to stipulate the terms and conditions under which the entity is authorized to use FRPP funds to acquire easements

7 2008 Changes Continued Authorize an eligible entity to use its own conservation easement deed terms and conditions as approved by the Secretary, so long as such terms are consistent with the purposes of the program

8 2008 Changes Continued Permit effective enforcement of the conservation easement deed by the eligible entity

9 2008 Changes Continued Require the establishment of a certification process by which the Secretary will directly qualify certain eligible entities as certified entities

10 Certification Criteria Entity must have a plan for administering easements consistent with FRPP purposes Entity must have the capacity and resources to monitor and enforce conservation easements and have a dedicated fund for this purpose Entity must have policies and procedures established to ensure long-term integrity of the easement

11 Certification Criteria ~ continued Evidence of timely completion of acquisitions Evidence of timely reporting of use of funds NRCS Chief determines whether the entity qualifies as a certified entity

12 Entity Agreements Entities with cooperative agreements will not have to resubmit an annual application for the duration of the cooperative agreement Agreement term will be 5 years for Certified Entities and 3 years for other Entities must submit a new list of parcels each fiscal year unless they request that parcels from the previous fiscal year be considered

13 Entity Responsibilities l Negotiate with landowners l Pay all legal and administrative costs l Pay for the entity share l Obtain an appraisal meeting FRPP requirements l Purchase USA title insurance l Draft the proposed easement l Monitor and enforce easements 3

14 2008 Changes Require that the fair market value of the conservation easement be determined on the basis of an appraisal, using an industry-approved method selected by the eligible entity and approved by the Secretary

15 Valuation The value of the conservation easement Before value – After value = Difference in Value An Estimate of the Effect on the Value of the entire property caused by the conservation easement

16 Valuation (cont.) Example 1 Before land value = $75,000 per acre After land value = $3,200 per acre Value of the conservation easement $75,000/acre - $3,200/acre = $71,800/acre

17 Valuation (cont.) Example 2 Before land value = $600 per acre After land value = $600 per acre ( Probably no change in Highest & Best Use) Est. Value of the conservation easement $600/acre - $600/acre = $0.00/acre

18 2008 Changes Require that entities provide a share of the cost of purchasing a conservation easement in an amount that is not less than 25 % of the acquisition purchase price

19 General Information l Landowner donations of easement value may be counted as part of the entity match l FRPP funding cap is $4000 per acre l The USA signs the easement as a Grantee under old farmbill l Payments can be made at closing, after closing, or as installment payments 3

20 2008 Changes Require that the Secretary hold a right of enforcement in FRPP funded conservation easements Amend the definition of eligible land to allow for the inclusion of forest land

21 2008 Administrative Changes Three-fold eligibility l The Landowner’s eligibility must be determined as well as the land eligibility and the eligibility of the entity l Landowner may be a person, legal entity, or Indian Tribe (Clarifies that State and local governments, and NGO’s are NOT considered eligible landowners)

22 2008 Administrative Changes Landowner Eligibility l Do not exceed the adjusted gross income limitation l Comply with the Highly Erodible and Wetland Conservation Provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended, and 7 CFR part 12

23 Eligible Land Privately owned land on a farm or ranch and contain at least 50% prime, unique, Statewide or locally important farmland Contain historical or archaeological resources Furthers a State or local policy consistent with the purposes of the program Subject to a pending offer from an eligible entity

24 FRPP Eligible Farmland Proposed easements must include at least - l 1/3 Important farmland soils l 1/3 in active agricultural use FUNDS are reduced proportionately Landowners must be checked for compliance with - l HEL and Wetland requirements of the 1985 Food Security Act as amended l AGI requirements of the 2008 Farm Bill BEFORE an Agreement with Entity is signed 4

25 Eligible Land continued Must be cropland, rangeland, grassland, pasture land, or forest land that contributes to the economic viability of an agricultural operation or Forest Land that serves as a buffer to protect an ag operation from development

26 Forest Land Eligibility Change Forest land is allowed if it contributes to the economic viability of an ag operation or serves as a buffer to protect an ag operation No minimum acres Forest Mgt Plan is the documentation of eligibility ~ not tax receipts Farms less than 100 acres with less than 10 acres of forest are not required to have a Plan Must not include Forest land of greater than two-thirds of the easement area

27 Eligible Land continued May include land that is incidental if determined by the Secretary to be necessary for the efficient administration of a conservation easement May include parts or entire farms or ranches

28 Entity Eligibility Federally recognize Indian Tribes State Unit of Government Non-profit organization with a farmland protection program Church, Hospital, School

29 In Addition Eligible Entities must demonstrate: A Commitment to long-term conservation of ag lands Be capable to acquire, manage and enforce easements Have sufficient staff dedicated to monitoring and easement stewardship Have availability of funds

30 New Application Procedures Entity submits application to the State Conservationist Chief determines whether an eligible entity qualifies as certified FRPP will be implemented using a continuous sign-up process with periodic ranking dates State Conservationist announces ranking dates no less than 60 days before the date of ranking

31 New Application Procedures continued Certified and non-certified entities compete under the same application and ranking process NRCS purges unfunded parcels from the list each September 30 th Entities can request that their parcels be retained for consideration in next fiscal year

32 New Ranking Criteria National ranking criteria must comprise at least half of the ranking system score l Percent prime, unique & important farmland l Percent cropland, pastureland, grassland, rangeland l Ratio of acres in parcel to average farm size in the county l Decrease in percentage of farm acreage in the county

33 New Ranking Criteria National criteria is 50% of score l Percent population growth in the county l Population density per square mile l Proximity of parcel to other protected land l Proximity of parcel to other ag operations and infrastructure

34 FRPP National Progress Since Over $510 million obligated nationwide to local programs in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to protect over 1360 square miles of productive farmland

35 Since 1996, over $14.5 million in Wisconsin FRPP funds have: Created partnerships with 11 farmland protection programs Protected over 19 square miles of farmland threatened by development Ensured that 81 working farms in 12 counties will remain in productive agricultural use

36 USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program Wisconsin FRPP Partners: 6 land trusts 2 towns 2 counties 1 state agency

37 FRPP conservation easements protect entire working farms Including prime agricultural land, woodlands, important natural areas,and cultural resources.

38 This 180 acre FRPP farm near Madison includes a stone barn on the National Register of Historic Places “It’s gratifying to know that this family heirloom and our agricultural heritage remain in good hands for future generations” Harold Thomas, FRPP participant

39 An FRPP easement protects this 340 acre dairy farm north of Milwaukee

40 Prime agricultural soils and woodlands buffering the Kinnickinnic River are protected by an FRPP easement on this 280 acre farm in NW Wisconsin

41 An FRPP easement protects this 80 acre apple orchard in northern Wisconsin “This hill has the most perfect soil for growing fruit, and I want to make sure it is always available for farming.” Vi Betzold, FRPP Participant

42 FRPP Application Procedure l USDA issues a request for applications l Applications are evaluated by NRCS using a ranking system developed with advice from the State Technical Committee l Funded applicants sign a Cooperative Agreement with NRCS l Programs have 18 months to acquire the easements 4

43 Easement Requirements l Must be permanent l Include the USA as a Grantee l Limit non-agricultural uses l Limit impervious surface l Require a conservation plan l Generally prohibit land division l Prohibit non-ag construction 3

44 FRPP More Information l WI FRPP website: l WI FRPP Coordinator Peggie James, USDA, NRCS ext 238 l WI FRPP Manager Don Baloun, USDA, NRCS ext 252 4


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