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Published February 10, 2010, 12:00 AM

Applications open for grasslands program

The Minnesota Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Minnesota Farm Service Agency (FSA) are accepting applications for the 2010 Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP).

The Minnesota Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Minnesota Farm Service Agency (FSA) are accepting applications for the 2010 Grasslands Reserve Program (GRP).

NRCS and FSA jointly administer the GRP.

GRP applications received by Friday, March 12, 2010 will be evaluated for 2010 GRP funding; applications received after that date will be evaluated for future GRP funding.

GRP is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to support grazing operators for conservation of the nation’s grasslands.

The program has several enrollment options: 10, 15 or 20-year rental agreements. Application evaluation for acceptance in the 2010 GRP will be based on ranking criteria that will emphasize grazing operations; protection of grassland, land that contains forbs, and shrub land at the greatest risk from the threat of conversion to uses other than grazing; plant and animal biodiversity.

Participants with approved rental agreements will receive annual payments for the rental contract period. GRP enrollment permits common grazing practices, haying, mowing or harvesting for seed production, subject to certain restrictions. All participants in GRP are required to implement a grazing management plan approved by NRCS.

For additional eligibility and information about GRP, contact the local USDA Service Center or visit the USDA websites at http://www.mn.

nrcs.usda.gov/programs/grp/index.html or http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=copr&topic=grp

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