7 CFR 1415.10 - Compensation for easements and rental contracts acquired by the Secretary.
(a) The Chief will not pay more than the fair market value of the land, less the grazing value of the land encumbered by the easement.
(b) To determine this amount, the Chief will pay as compensation the lowest of:
(1) The fair market value of the land encumbered by the easement as determined by the Chief using -
(i) The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, or
(ii) An area-wide market analysis or market survey;
(2) The amount corresponding to a geographical cap, as determined by the State Conservationist, with advice from the State Technical Committee; or
(3) An offer made by the landowner.
(c) For 10-, 15-, and 20-year rental contracts, the participant will receive not more than 75 percent of the grazing value in an annual payment for the length of the contract, as determined by FSA. As provided by the regulations at part 1400 of this title, payments made under one or more rental contracts to a person or legal entity, directly or indirectly, may not exceed, in the aggregate, $50,000 per year.
(d) In order to provide for better uniformity among States, the NRCS Chief and FSA Administrator may review and adjust, as appropriate, State or other geographically based payment rates for rental contracts.
(e) Easement or rental contract payments received by a participant will be in addition to, and not affect, the total amount of payments that the participant is otherwise eligible to receive under other USDA programs.
(f) Easement payments will be made in a single payment to the landowner unless otherwise requested by the landowner.
(g) USDA may accept and use contributions of non-Federal funds to support the purposes of the program. These funds are available to USDA without further appropriation and until expended, to carry out the program.
(h) USDA recognizes that environmental benefits will be achieved by implementing conservation practices and activities funded through GRP, and that ecosystem credits may be gained as a result of implementing activities compatible with the purposes of a GRP easement, rental contract, or associated restoration agreement. USDA asserts no direct or indirect interest in these credits except:
(1) In the event the participant sells or trades credits arising from GRP funded activities, USDA retains the authority to ensure that the requirements for GRP rental contracts, easements, or restoration agreements are met and maintained consistent with this part; and
(2) If activities required under an ecosystem credit agreement may affect land covered under a GRP rental contract, easement, or restoration agreement, participants are required to obtain an assessment from USDA about the compatibility of the activity prior to entering into such agreements.