Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District (Fayette SWCD) has again been designated as a local sponsor by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to help preserve farmland across the state.
Local sponsors will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close, and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).
The program, which is voluntary and competitive, allows landowners to sell easements on their farms to the State of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agricultural production, supporting the state’s largest industry. Selected farms must be 40 or more acres, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have support from 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, 354 family farms in 54 counties have collectively preserved more than 59,000 acres in agricultural production. Fayette SWCD recently closed on the first easement in Fayette County using monies from the 2015 round of funding. This easement will permanently protect 254 aces in Jefferson Township. There is another offer pending on 251 acres from the 2016 round of funding.
Fayette SWCD advises the application period is narrow. The deadline to begin the application process is Feb. 24. Persons interested in submitting an application should contact the Fayette SWCD office as soon as possible.
For more information, contact Fayette SWCD Director Chet Murphy at 740-636-0279 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information is also available at: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FarmLand/.