The U.S. Department of Agriculture has more than $1 million available for Iowa landowners who sign up for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). The GRP is a voluntary program that helps landowners and operators protect working grasslands, including hay land, pastureland, native grasslands and certain other lands using rental contracts or conservation easements. Larry Beeler, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs says those that want to participate must have a USDA-approved grazing management plan.
He says landowners that are accepted can enroll their land into a permanent easement, or they can receive annual, per-acre payments in exchange for their agreement to keep the land as grassland for 10, 15 or 20 years. Beeler adds applicants interested in a permanent easement or a 20-year agreement will also be given priority.
Applications are due by April 15 to be included in the ranking process to award the current allotment of funds. To apply for the GRP, contact your local USDA Service Center.
You can find the office nearest you by looking in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or access click here. Additional information about this and other programs is also available here.