Title 7

SECTION 1468.27

1468.27 Buy-Protect-Sell transactions.

§ 1468.27 Buy-Protect-Sell transactions.

(a) NRCS may enter into an ALE-agreement with an eligible entity for a buy-protect-sell transaction to provide cost-share assistance for the purchase of an agricultural land easement on eligible private or Tribal agricultural land that an eligible entity owns or is in the process of purchasing for the purposes of securing the long-term protection of natural resources and the agricultural nature of the land and ensuring timely transfer to a qualified farmer or rancher.

(b) At the time the individual parcel application is submitted, the eligible entity must identify the specific buy-protect-sell transaction type as either -

(1) Pre-closing transfer, wherein the eligible entity will transfer fee title ownership to a farmer or rancher at or prior to closing on the agricultural land easement and the eligible entity will hold the agricultural land easement prior to receiving the Federal share, or

(2) Post-closing transfer, wherein the eligible entity will transfer fee title ownership to a farmer or rancher not later than 3 years after closing on the agricultural land easement, unless an extension of such time has been authorized by NRCS based on documentation of extenuating circumstances provided by the eligible entity.

(c) The ALE-agreement must contain the information described in § 1468.23 and must specify the details of the legal arrangement for the individual buy-protect-sell transaction, including that for all buy-protect-sell transactions the eligible entity must -

(1) Own the land or within 12 months of execution of the ALE-agreement for the buy-protect-sell transaction by both NRCS and the eligible entity, and the eligible entity has completed or has demonstrated to the satisfaction of NRCS that completion of the purchase of the land is imminent.

(2) Make an initial sale of the land to a farmer or rancher that is or will be subject to the agricultural land easement pursuant to the terms of the ALE-agreement.

(3) Sell the land to the farmer or rancher for a purchase price that does not exceed the lesser of -

(i) The original purchase price of the land paid by the eligible entity; or

(ii) The agricultural value as determined by an appraisal.

(4) Ensure that amounts included in the sale of the land to the farmer or rancher for reasonable holding and transaction costs incurred by the eligible entity in total do not exceed more than 10 percent of the agricultural value.

(5) Submit documentation satisfactory to NRCS that confirms the sale of the land that is or will be subject to the agricultural land easement meets the buy-protect-sell transaction requirements. Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the ALE-agreement for the buy-protect-sell transaction, the eligible entity must provide -

(i) Evidence that the purchaser of the land is a qualified farmer or rancher,

(ii) Documentation of the purchase price for the land paid by the eligible entity,

(iii) The appraisal used to determine the agricultural value of the land,

(iv) An itemized list of the allowable holding or transaction costs included in the sales price,

(v) A copy of the settlement statements identifying the sale price and all holding and transactions costs charged to the farmer or rancher purchaser, and

(vi) Other documents as specified by NRCS in the ALE-agreement.

(6) Reimburse NRCS for the entirety of the Federal share provided if, as determined by NRCS, the eligible entity failed to transfer ownership per the terms and conditions of the ALE-agreement for the buy-protect-sell transaction.

(d) In addition to the requirements identified in paragraph (c) of this section, for buy-protect-sell transactions that involve a pre-closing transfer as required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section:

(1) The maximum duration of the ALE-agreement may be the same as described in § 1468.23(b).

(2) The Federal share for the agricultural land easement will be provided on a reimbursable basis only, after the agricultural land easement has closed and the required documents have been provided to and reviewed by NRCS.

(e) For buy-protect-sell transactions that involve a post-closing transfer as required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section:

(1) At the time of application, in addition to the information identified § 1468.21, the eligible entity must provide NRCS specific information on the proposed structure of the buy-protect-sell transaction, including the parties to be involved in the transaction, the roles and responsibilities of each party related to the acquisition, holding, monitoring, and enforcement of the easement and the fee title ownership of the land, relevant State law that authorizes such transactions, proposed timeline, and other information identified by NRCS.

(2) NRCS will determine the legal conformance of the proposed arrangement for the buy-protect-sell transaction.

(3) Based on the NRCS determination of legal conformance of the proposed buy-protect-sell transaction, for eligible applications selected for funding based on ranking and availability of funds, NRCS will identify the specific terms of the ALE-agreement for the buy-protect-sell transaction.

(4) The buy-protect-sell transaction must meet the timing requirements in paragraphs (e)(4)(i) through (iv) of this section -

(i) The term of the ALE-agreement for a buy-protect-sell transaction will be for a period no longer than 5 fiscal years following the fiscal year of execution of the ALE-agreement by NRCS and the eligible entity.

(ii) The agricultural land easement must be closed within 2 fiscal years following the fiscal year of ALE-agreement execution, and the sale of the land subject to the agricultural land easement to a qualified farmer or rancher must occur within 3 years of closing on the agricultural land easement.

(iii) Prior to the expiration of the 3-year timeframe, the eligible entity may submit to NRCS a request for an extension that includes documentation of extenuating circumstances and the anticipated timeline, not to exceed 12 months, in which the sale of the land subject to the easement will occur.

(iv) NRCS may, in its discretion, authorize such additional time for the sale of the land subject to the agricultural land easement to a qualified farmer or rancher through a modification to the ALE-agreement.