Director David T. Daniels addressed the 13th annual Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit and presented awards to three individuals who have dedicated themselves to building local farmland preservation programs. This year’s summit marks a decade of partnership between the state and local partners, which has resulted in the permanent preservation of 50,000 acres of productive farmland in 55 counties.
“Farmland preservation is important to everyone because it is the basic ingredient that provides food on our tables and keeps our economy strong,” Daniels said. “Governor Kasich has been laser-focused on creating jobs and improving Ohio’s economy, and recognizes the tapped — and untapped — power the agriculture industry holds for the state. But to do this we need land.”
Following his comments, Daniels honored three individuals with the Ohio Farmland Preservation Ambassador Award. This is the highest recognition for preservation efforts given in the state. The recipients are: Larry Frimerman, Three Valley Conservation Trust, serving Butler, Darke, Hamilton, Montgomery and Preble counties; Dan Jackson,Montgomery Soil and Water Conservation District; and Roger Wolfe, a Fairfield County farmer.
Denise Franz King, executive director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation, delivered the keynote address “Building Capacity and Maximizing Resources: Ohio’s New Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (AEPP),” which explained a new farmland preservation program announced last year.
Under this new program, the Ohio Department of Agriculture will certify land trusts, local governments and soil and water conservation districts to partner with the department to manage a local AEPP program to purchase agricultural easements from willing landowners with the state’s Clean Ohio bond funding. The program is expected to begin this spring. For more information on the new, local program contact the state Office of Farmland Preservation at 614-728-6210.