Black Swamp Conservancy has entered into permanent farmland preservation agreements with four landowners in Fulton and Seneca counties.
Those agreements – known as agricultural easements – will ensure that 451 acres of prime farm ground are devoted exclusively to agriculture, forever. The easements will be co-held by the conservancy and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Black Swamp Conservancy preserves land mostly through perpetual land conservation agreements known as conservation or agricultural easements. Through such an agreement, the landowner gives up the right to develop the property – such as by constructing buildings, putting in roads or driveways or subdividing the land – in order to protect its conservation values, which includes its value as prime farmland or as habitat for native plants and animals.
“Agriculture is the #1 industry in northwest Ohio,“ said Kevin Joyce, the conservancy’s executive director. “In these tough times, it’s important to recognize that farm families’ commitment to keeping their land as farmland is essential to our community’s future economic prosperity.”
The two Fulton County farms, covering 179 acres, are located near Delta, Ohio. The two farms in Seneca County, totaling 272 acres, are north of Tiffin.
Since its founding in 1993, Black Swamp Conservancy has permanently protected nearly 9,800 acres of family farms and natural areas such as wetlands, meadows and woods. Those lands are spread across 12 counties in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Recently, farmland preservation has been recognized as an issue of national security for the United States. According to the website of American Farmland Trust, “Saving America’s farm and ranch land is a matter of national security. Protecting it is essential to our nation’s long-term ability to produce food, fiber and renewable energy.”