The Debt for Nature Program (DFN)

The Debt for Nature Program (DFN) is available to persons with Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans. This program allows landowners to cancel a portion of their debt in exchange for the development rights to the land. The contract is an agreement that restricts the type and amount of development allowed for a term of 10, 30, or 50 years. The landowner maintains private ownership and rights to the land.

Land Use Cropland, Grazing land, Recreational land, Forestland
Focus Easement program
Resource Concern Soil erosion, Water quality, Wildlife habitat
Purpose The environmental purpose is to protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat and safeguard ground and surface water.
Landowner Benefits The landowner benefits from the cancellation of a portion of the debt to FSA in exchange for a conservation easement that limits the development rights.
Description This program enables those with debt to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to exchange their debt for a conservation easement. A conservation easement is a legal agreement that restricts the type and amount of development allowed on the land. These easements may last for 10, 30, or 50 years. The amount of debt to be cancelled depends on the market value and the length and acres involved in the agreement.
Practices Conservation easement and cancellation of debt
Costs to Landowner The landowner gives up their development rights on the land but still maintains private ownership of the land.
Eligibility This program is available to persons with Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans secured by real estate. Lands that are eligible include but are not limited to wetlands, highly erodible lands, historic property, buffer zones, and more.
Contract The contracts are for 10, 30, or 50 years
Other Notes
Landowner Initiation
  • Contact the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) where you own land.
  • Ask about the Debt for Nature Program.