Financial assistance is available to Arkansas landowners through the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP).Although applications may be taken at any time, only those applications submitted by April 19, 2013, will be evaluated and ranked for funding for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 program.

GRP was reauthorized bythe 2008 farm bill.  NRCS provides technical assistance for GRP.

“GRP offers a way for ranchers and farmers -- the backbone of our economy -- to ensure this unique natural resource remains a healthy and viable part of Arkansas for years to come," said Doris Washington, acting state conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Arkansas.

GRP is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property through permanent easements or rental contracts (10-, 15-, or 20-year).For the FY 2013 program, priority will be given to enrolling land in easements.

The program emphasizes preservation of native and natural grasslands and scrublands that support grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity; and protection of grassland that is under multiple threats of conversion to other land uses.

Land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is also eligible for enrollment in GRP.

"I encourage producers interested in preserving their grasslands to stop by a USDA Service Center and visit with the NRCS or FSA staff to learn more about the program," Washington said.

For more information about GRP, please contact your local USDA Service Center, listed in the telephone book under U.S. Department of Agriculture, or your local conservation district.  Information is also available at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/grp.html