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The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)’ Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) is a voluntary conservation easement program that helps farmers and ranchers keep their land in agricultural production. The program provides matching funds to state, tribal, or local governments and nongovernmental organizations with existing farmland protection programs to purchase conservation easements. Private landowners interested in applying for the program must start the process by contacting their local land trust, non-profit conservation group, or other eligible entity with a farmland protection program and funds necessary to match the federal contribution from NRCS.  In California, NRCS plans to make 2013 funding decisions from a pool of applications received by February 15. For more information: