The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP)

The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) protects grazing land from the threat of development. The federal government will pay a landowner annual rental payments to limit the use of grassland to practices that promote biodiversity, such as grazing. In some cases, the federal government may offer to purchase the developmental rights to the land; however, the landowner would still maintain grazing rights.

Land Use Grazing land
Focus Rental agreements OR Easement program
Resource Concern Soil erosion, Water quality, Air quality, Wildlife habitat
Purpose The environmental purpose is to restore and protect grassland, including rangeland, pastureland, shrub land, and certain other lands while maintaining the area for grazing. It provides support for working grazing operations, enhancement of plant and animal biodiversity, protection of grassland and land with shrubs and forbs under threat of conservation to cropping, urban development, and other activities that threaten grassland resources. Well-maintained pasture and grassland help protect water quality, reduce soil erosion, improve wildlife habitat, enhance recreational opportunities, and increase aesthetic value of the land and surrounding area.
Landowner Benefits Landowners receive rental payments, which provide additional farm income for land dedicated to pasture and grassland. Participants could receive cost-sharing of up to 50% of restoration costs on restored grassland and up to 90% on virgin grassland. Technical assistance may include the design of conservation practices, identifying management alternatives, and other activities.
Description The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) was developed to reserve grassland and pasture acreage threatened by conversion to non-agricultural use and/or cropland that supports grazing and promotes biodiversity. Typical grazing and management activities are allowed on enrolled acreage. Land is enrolled into 10, 15, or 20-year rental agreements. Producers receive an annual rental payment based on their accepted acreage and a percentage of the county-specific grazing land value. Permanent easements are also available.
Practices Participants voluntarily limit future use of the land while retaining the right to conduct common grazing practices (produce hay, mow, or harvest for seed production), conduct fire rehabilitation, and construct firebreaks and fences. This program prohibits the production of crops (other than hay), fruit trees, and vineyards that require breaking the soil surface and any other activity that would disturb the surface of the land.
Costs to Landowner Since this program provides annual rental payment, there are effectively no costs to the landowner. The landowner is responsible for any management activities they elect to implement. Landowners who sell a conservation easement are still responsible for managing the property.
Eligibility Landowners must offer a minimum of 40 acres for program eligibility. Waivers are available for smaller parcels in cases of exceptional acreages that meet the purposes of the program.
Contract Depends on the length of the rental agreement you choose. (10, 15, 20 year)
Other Notes Each state establishes ranking criteria that will prioritize enrollment of working grasslands. This will consider threats of conversion, including cropping, invasive species, urban development, and other activities that threaten plant and animal diversity on grazing lands. Expiring CRP land is given priority, if land has a high ecological value and is under significant threat of conversion to uses other than grazing. Eligible land includes grassland tracts containing historical or archaeological resources.
Landowner Initiation
  • Contact the local Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) where you own land.
  • Ask about enrolling land into the Grassland Reserve Program (GRP).