REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – Virgil “Barney” Hudson, owner of a 100-acre farm in Auglaize County, is the second farm owner to donate an agricultural easement to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The Hudson easement was donated Dec. 21.
Under ODA’s Agricultural Easement Donation Program, landowners can donate an agricultural easement on their farm to ODA, guaranteeing the land will always be a farm.
These are voluntary legal agreements restricting development on farmland, with the land remaining on the tax rolls and under private ownership and management.
Hudson’s primary interest in donating the easement is to preserve his farm. He purchased the farm, located southeast of St. Marys, in partnership with his older brother Paul around 1945.
In 1948, shortly after his marriage, Hudson and his wife, Esther, moved to the farm. They originally grew corn, soybeans, wheat, and oats, as well as raised livestock, including Holstein dairy cows, Angus beef cattle, hogs, and laying hens. Hudson purchased his brother’s portion of the farm in 1977.
Since 1983, nearly 84 acres of the Hudson farm has been rented to an area farmer. It also holds two wooded lots totaling 14 acres, which the Hudsons wish to be kept permanently in their natural state as forest preserves.
Supporting Hudson’s decision is his daughter, Connie Hudson Backlund, a park manager with the National Park Service in North Carolina.
“I’ve worked at some of our most spectacular national parks,” she said. “Yet every time I return home, I see the beauty in our farm fields and woods. This easement preserves my dad’s farm, a great accomplishment considering the loss of farmland in Ohio.”
Landowners can receive federal tax advantages from donating permanent agricultural easements to ODA. Donated agricultural easements that meet Internal Revenue Code criteria are treated as charitable gifts.
Also, under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, there is an additional incentive for landowners to donate permanent agricultural easements if the farmland is inside or within 25 miles of a metropolitan area. Interested landowners should seek professional advice from an accountant or tax attorney.
For more information on ODA’s Agricultural Easement Donation Program, contact Howard Wise or Joe Daubenmire in ODA’s Office of Farmland Preservation at 614-466-2732.