Farmers have until Friday to apply for Grassland Program

PARKERSBURG – The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) announce a ranking period for the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP). All applications for the rental enrollment option submitted to either agency by close of business on Feb. 15, 2013 will be considered for funding.

The purpose of the GRP is to provide assistance to landowners and operators to protect grazing uses and related conservation values on eligible private range and pasture lands. The program emphasizes support of grazing operations, maintaining and improving plant and animal biodiversity, and protecting grasslands under threat of conversion to cropping, urban development, and other non-grazing uses.

Grasslands provide both ecological and economic benefits. The importance of grasslands lies not only in the areas they cover, but also in the diversity of environmental benefits they produce. The lands provide forage for livestock, water for urban and rural uses, flood protection, wildlife habitat, purification of air, and carbon sequestration. The lands also provide aesthetic values and open space.

Participants voluntarily limit future development and cropping uses of the land while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices and operations related to the production of forage and seeding, subject to certain restrictions during nesting seasons of bird species that are in significant decline or are protected under Federal or State law.

The NRCS and FSA encourage landowners who are interested in the Grassland Reserve Program to telephone Daniel O. Shockey, County Executive Director at (304) 422-9072 or visit the Parkersburg USDA Service Center located Boyle’s Lane just off of Mill Run Road. Additional information on GRP and other conservation programs is available on the Web at www.wv.nrcs.usda.gov or www.fsa.usda.gov.

Applications for the GRP are accepted on a year round basis. Ranking periods are announced periodically to rank and fund rental and easement applications.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, D.C., 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or 1-800-877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or 1-800-845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.