The Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentives Program (VPA-HIP) encourages private landowners to voluntarily make their land available to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation. States and tribes approved for funding of this Farm Service Agency
(FSA) program use the funds as incentives to encourage private landowners of farms, ranches, and forests to make that land available to the public for wildlife-dependent recreation. This may include hunting or fishing. The overall goal of VPA-HIP is to enhance wildlife habitat and management and to boost local economies through activities that attract wildlife enthusiasts.
Lack of access, particularly in urbanized areas, is one of the most common reasons stated by individuals as to why they do not participate in traditional outdoor activities. This program allows the public to use private land for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreational activities. In doing so, it allows the public to enjoy the benefits of FSA conservation programs, such as increased wildlife populations.
For more information about VPA-HIP sign-up and how VPA-HIP grants work scroll down the page to the Participant Information section.
For a list of FAQs, visit Ask FSA.
To enroll, your state must participate in the program.
The VPA-HIP grants are competitive. Requests for applications for the program are published on the federal government’s grants site, www.grants.gov
. Only states or tribal governments can apply directly for these funds.
State or tribal government programs that are likely to be accepted by a large number of landowners are given priority, as are programs that use the grant money together with other federal, state, and tribal resources. Other programs likely to be funded are those that enroll land with suitable wildlife habitat, strengthen habitat improvement efforts on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program,
or provide information to the public about the location of land that is publically accessible.
States and tribes submit applications for VPA-HIP funding during periods determined by the FSA. Requirements are documented in the Request for Applications (RFA) for VPA-HIP funding posted on the www.grants.gov portal.
Applications describe how states and tribes will conduct landowner outreach, apply the funds, and award procedures. FSA determines which applications are approved for funding. After entering an agreement with the FSA and reaching out to landowners, states and tribes engage in local contracts, agreements, or easements with landowners. Properties are then open to public access and this information is posted on websites or in appropriate state or tribal documents.