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Farmers eligible for USDA's FRPP funds

Vermont conservationist Judy Doerner of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service last week announced the availability of $2,481,564 to protect agricultural land in Vermont through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) in fiscal year 2007. FRPP protects productive agricultural land by purchasing conservation easements to limit conversion of farm lands to non-agricultural uses. USDA partners with state or local governments and non-government organizations to acquire conservation easements from landowners. USDA provides up to 50 percent of the appraised fair market value of the conservation easement in this voluntary program. State and local entities can match that amount, including the use of landowner donations. Eligible farms must have the following components: --contain productive soils or historic or archaeological sites; --be part of a pending offer from a non-governmental organization, state, or local farmland protection program; --be privately owned; --covered by a conservation plan; --large enough to sustain agricultural production; --accessible to markets for what the land produces; and --surrounded by parcels of land that can support long-term agricultural production. For more information contact Vicky Drew, assistant state conservationist, Vermont State Office, 356 Mountain View Drive, Colchester 05446; (802) 951-7695 or e-mail, Vicky.Drew@vt.usda.gov.

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