The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property. Section 2401 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Pub. L. 107-171) amended the Food Security Act of 1985 to authorize this program. The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency and Forest Service are coordinating implementation of GRP, which helps landowners restore and protect grassland, rangeland, pastureland, shrubland and certain other lands and provides assistance for rehabilitating grasslands. The program will conserve vulnerable grasslands from conversion to cropland or other uses and conserve valuable grasslands by helping maintain viable ranching operations.
"Grasslands provide critical ecological benefits and play a key role in environmental quality, as well as contributing to the economies of many rural areas," said Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman. "This voluntary program helps protect valuable grasslands from conversion to other land uses, thus helping to ensure this national resource is available to future generations."
Grasslands make up the largest land cover on America's private lands. Privately-owned grasslands and shrublands cover more than 525 million acres in the United States. For the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will direct financial resources and technical expertise to help landowners protect and restore these lands.