REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Agriculture has announced approval for local sponsors to purchase agricultural easements on 37 family farms representing 3,701 acres in 29 counties. The approvals include a 191-acre farm in Jefferson Township, Fayette County.
Local sponsoring organizations, which include land trusts, counties and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, receive funding from the Clean Ohio Fund to manage the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District acts as the Local Sponsor for Fayette County. The easement ensures farms remain permanently in agricultural production. The program supports the state’s largest industry, food and agriculture.
To be eligible for the program, farms must be larger than 40 acres or next to a preserved farm, 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 be in close proximity to development. Landowners may use the proceeds of the easement in any way they wish, but most reinvest it in their farm operation.
Funding for the state’s farmland preservation efforts is derived from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, approved by voters in 2008, and used to purchase agricultural easements from willing sellers through a competitive process. From 2002 to 2022, 589 family farms in 61 counties have collectively preserved 91,507 acres in agricultural production. Permanent easements preserved under related programs bring the total acres currently preserved in Ohio to over 102,000. Since 2015, LAEPP has used $2,771,407 to purchase agricultural easements on 2,058 acres in Fayette County.
For more information go to: https://agri.ohio.gov/programs/farmland-preservation-office/home or contact Chet Murphy at the Fayette Soil & Water Conservation District: 740-313-3214; [email protected]