USDA has nearly $983,000 available for Iowa landowners who sign up for the Grassland Reserve Program by July 10.
To participate in the GRP, landowners must have an NRCS-approved grazing management plan. Landowners who have their GRP applications 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.
In Iowa, GRP applications are ranked by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Priority will be given to grazing lands likely to be converted to other uses, such as expiring Conservation Reserve Program contracts or land under pressure for urban development. Applicants interested in a permanent easement or a 20-year agreement will also be given priority.
Why it is important to apply by July 10
Larry Beeler, NRCS assistant state conservationist for programs in Iowa, says applications for the grassland reserve program will be accepted on a continuous basis. When funding has been exhausted, applications will remain on file until additional funding becomes available. However, he says only applications received through July 10 will be included in the ranking process to award the current allotment of funds.
Landowners who have their GRP applications accepted may continue to graze the land or harvest hay and seed from the land, with a few exceptions: haying or seed harvest activities are not permitted during the primary nesting season (June 10 to Aug. 1) on warm season grasses; and haying, seed harvest, or grazing activities are not permitted on 25% of cool season grasses during the primary nesting season (June 10 to Aug. 1).
To apply for the GRP, contact your local USDA Service Center or NRCS office. You can find the office nearest you by looking in the phone book under “U.S. Government, Department of Agriculture,” or access this Web site: offices.usda.gov. Additional information about this and other programs is also available at this Web site: www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.