The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced that eight land trusts, four counties and 15 Soil and Water Conservation Districts will receive funding to help preserve farmland across the state. These organizations will receive allocations from the Clean Ohio Fund to select, close and monitor easements under the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP).
LAEPP sponsor organizations will accept applications from Ohio landowners interested in selling an agricultural easement on their farms. A total of nearly $8.5 million will be made available in this funding round. Local sponsors have been certified to accept applications in 34 counties. Interested landowners should contact the certified local sponsor in their county for application details.
The program allows landowners to voluntarily sell easements on their farms to the state of Ohio. The easement requires the farm remain permanently in agriculture production. Selected farms must be 40 acres or more, actively engaged in farming, participate in the Current Agricultural Use Valuation program, demonstrate good stewardship of the land, have the support of their 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, 449 family farms in 59 counties have collectively preserved more than 73,500 acres in agricultural production. For more information on Ohio’s farmland preservation effort visit: www.agri.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/oda/programs/farmland-preservation-office.