DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Application for Grants for Succession/Transition Planning Under the Agricultural Land Conservation Assistance Grant Program
[47 Pa.B. 2444]
[Saturday, April 29, 2017]
An application period for grants under the Agricultural Land Conservation Assistance Grant Program (Program) administered by the Department of Agriculture (Department) began on October 1, 2016. The Program is authorized by sections 7.1 and 7.3 of the act of June 18, 1982 (P.L. 549, No. 159) (3 P.S. §§ 1207.1 and 1207.3) and section 1718-B of the act of July 13, 2016 (P.L. 664, No. 85) (Act 85). Notice of grants under the Program was previously published at 46 Pa.B. 5814 (September 10, 2016); this notice is being republished to reflect changes in the Program with respect to eligibility of applicants who are also receiving grants/funding from the Center for Dairy Excellence.
In summary, Act 85 expanded the Program to allow the Department to award grants not to exceed $3,000 each to owners of land subject to agricultural conservation easements for the purpose of succession planning to ensure that agricultural operations continue on these lands. Grants may be awarded to applicants meeting the following eligibility criteria for use during a 24-month period, beginning on the date of signing a grant agreement (grant period). Grant funds may be used for reimbursement, on a 1:1 matching basis, of costs incurred by applicants for services provided by professionals who are part of a farm succession/transition planning team (team) working toward the development of a succession/transition plan for the farm.
To be eligible for a grant under the Program, an applicant must:
1. Own land that is subject to an agricultural conservation easement under authority of the Agricultural Area Security Law (3 P.S. §§ 901—915).
2. Complete an application on forms provided by the Department. The grant application forms may be obtained from the Center for Farm Transitions, Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Room 310, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (888) 724-7697.
3. Establish a team consisting of professionals with expertise in the area of farm succession/transition planning and any other identified areas of need, the purpose of which is to ensure that agricultural operations continue on the land subject to an agricultural conservation easement through the development of a farm succession/transition plan.
4. Hold regular meetings, no less than two times per year during the grant period, with members of the team and submit minutes of team meetings to the Department to show progress toward the development of a farm succession/transition plan.
5. Agree to match the amount of grant money received at least 100%, either by sharing in the cost of professional services or by receiving ''in-kind'' services from professionals on the team, during the grant period. Resources provided from the Center for Dairy Excellence do not qualify towards these matching funds or resources.
6. Submit requests for reimbursement of costs on forms provided by the Department. Requests for reimbursement must include:
a. Minutes of the previous team meeting.
b. Invoices for professional services by team members incurred since the last reimbursement request.
c. Proof of any professional services provided on an ''in-kind'' basis that applicant wished to be credited toward matching funds.
Applications for the Program are currently being accepted by the Department. There is no deadline for applications; however, grant funding is limited by Act 85 to a total of $165,000. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received to determine suitability and acceptance into the Program. Information and grant application forms may be obtained from the Bureau of Farmland Preservation, Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Room 402, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 783-3167. Applications may also be obtained from the Department's web site at http://www.agriculture.pa.gov/Encourage/farmland/Pages/Preserved-Farms-Resource-Center.aspx.
RUSSELL C. REDDING,
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-709. Filed for public inspection April 28, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]
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