United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Oct 01, 2023
The Secretary shall protect the agricultural use, including grazing, and related conservation values of eligible land through cost-share assistance to eligible entities for purchasing agricultural land easements.
Under the agreement, the eligible entity shall provide a share that is at least equivalent to that provided by the Secretary.
In the case of grassland of special environmental significance, as determined by the Secretary, the Secretary may provide an amount not to exceed 75 percent of the fair market value of the agricultural land easement.
The Secretary shall establish evaluation and ranking criteria to maximize the benefit of Federal investment under the program.
In evaluating applications under the program, the Secretary may give priority to an application for the purchase of an agricultural land easement that, as determined by the Secretary, maintains agricultural viability.
If the Secretary determines that 2 or more applications for cost-share assistance are comparable in achieving the purpose of the program, the Secretary shall not assign a higher priority to any of those applications solely on the basis of lesser cost to the program.
The Secretary shall enter into agreements with eligible entities to stipulate the terms and conditions under which the eligible entity is permitted to use cost-share assistance provided under this section.
An agreement shall allow, upon mutual agreement of the parties, substitution of qualified projects that are identified at the time of the proposed substitution.
The Secretary shall conduct a review of eligible entities certified under subparagraph (A) every three years to ensure that such entities are meeting the criteria established under subparagraph (B).
The Secretary may provide technical assistance, if requested, to assist in compliance with the terms and conditions of easements.