16 U.S. Code § 3865b - Agricultural land easements
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.
An eligible entity may include as part of its share under clause (i) a charitable donation or qualified conservation contribution (as defined by section 170(h) of title 26) from the private landowner if the eligible entity contributes its own cash resources in an amount that is at least 50 percent of the amount contributed 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.
For purposes of subparagraph (B)(ii), the Secretary may waive any portion of the eligible entity cash contribution requirement for projects of special significance, subject to an increase in the private landowner donation that is equal to the amount of the waiver, if the donation is voluntary and the property is in active agricultural production.
The Secretary shall establish evaluation and ranking criteria to maximize the benefit of Federal investment under 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).
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