State farmland preservation funds are doing more than preserving land, according to a recent survey commissioned by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation. Results revealed that Agricultural Easement Purchase Program funds are being used to help implement on-farm conservation measures and expand the farm business.
“These funds are going far beyond the physical aspects of preserving agricultural land,” said Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs. “They are also helping producers engage in more sustainable practices, which is good for the community, environment and economy.”
The Ohio State University Center for Farmland Policy Innovation performed the independent survey, of which 79 of the program’s 101 participants responded. A majority of respondents, 91.7 percent, reported that they are satisfied with the program.
More than half of the respondents indicated they are establishing new conservation practices on their farms since receiving funds from the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. In addition, 23 respondents are diversifying their farming business, and 17 are establishing new or additional farm businesses.
Since the program’s inception in 2002, the department’s farmland preservation office has received more than 2,400 applications. The department has been able to preserve 172 of those farms, totaling 33,460.37 acres in 33 counties. Funding for the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program is made available through the Clean Ohio Fund, renewed by voters in 2008. The Clean Ohio Fund not only helps preserve farmland but also preserves greenspace, develops recreational trails and cleans up brownfield sites.
For more information on the state’s Agricultural Easement Purchase Program or the department’s Office of Farmland Preservation, visit www.agri.ohio.gov.