The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced Monday that the Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District is one of nine land trusts, four counties, one township, and 11 Soil and Water Conservation Districts to be certified as local sponsors to receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state.
These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).
LAEPP sponsor organizations will accept applications from Ohio landowners interested in selling an agricultural easement on their farms. A total of $8 million will be made available in this funding round.
Local sponsors have been certified to accept applications in 58 counties. Interested landowners in Fayette County should contact Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District at 740-636-0279 for application details.
The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the state of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agriculture production. Selected farms must be 40 acres or more, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have the support of their local government, and not lay directly in the path of development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operations.
Funding for the program is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008. When combined with easements from all programs, 380 family farms in 55 counties have collectively preserved more than 63,000 acres in agricultural production.
For more information on Ohio’s farmland preservation effort visit: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FarmLand/.
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