FDACS Legislative Budget Request: $15 million
Federal funds are obligated to match the $15 Million budget request by Florida Department of Agriculture and double the budget request.
- The Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP) is an agricultural easement program through the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Florida Forest Service; it is designed to protect important agricultural lands through the acquisition of permanent land conservation easements;
- There are currently 220,000acres of land on the Tier 1 RFLPP List and about 353,000acres on all Tiers – land that is in the queue for conservation;
- RFLPP partners with other programs to leverage funding (extremely efficient use of taxpayer dollars); there is currently $17 million in partner funding obligated;without RFLPP funding these partner dollars will be lost; partners provide a one-to-one match or greater to RFLPP Projects;
- RFLPP is a partner with Department of Defense to protect critical buffers to our military bases (DOD/RFLPP partnership is critical for Air Force training exercises – remain “mission ready”); this is a one to one match(this money lost if RFLPP not funded);
- The $15 Million budget request for RFLPP was based off estimated acquisition costs using the above obligated funding and the anticipated FY 20/21 partner funding (RFLPP is leveraging projects with matching federal dollars- doubling the money);
- RFLPP addresses our water quality issues at the SOURCE; protecting these intact rural landscapes means holding and cleaning water BEFORE it flows into the rivers and lakes (negating need for future infrastructure fixes);
- Conservation easements make good fiscal sense. These easements protect land at a fraction of the cost of an outright purchase, thereby doubling the amount of land that can be protected;
- Under a conservation easement, the land stays on the tax rolls; private management of conservation lands is no cost to taxpayers;
- As development increases, working lands are under increasing economic pressure to be divided and sold.
Since 2009 RFLPP has protected over 59,000 acres!
Local and federal partners have contributed over $21 million in matching funds.
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