Why not donate to a conservation district?


Over the years in the soil and water conservation world in northeast Ohio, there has been at best, little attention given to marketing local SWCDs as logical places to donate money to when trying to think of a smart place to garner a IRS tax deduction for yourself.

If you have received sound technical advice and even money-saving advice with your own land management improvement activities through your local conservation office, now is the time to consider the idea, “perhaps I could donate to the furtherance of my local office’s continuing efforts to help all landowners like I was helped.”

Uncertain funding

Most of the local offices I am familiar with have all been reduced in funding over the last number of years at the county levels. However, within those same counties, the resource needs and challenges have not gone away for landowners.

Just look at 2011, with all-time rainfall record amounts, which certainly put stormwater runoff practices to the test. Now, in 2012, we are looking at a record drought already and just think of the pastures and crops that may be in jeopardy this year.

Is your topsoil capable of retaining every drop of rain that may fall on it because you learned how important organic matter is to holding moisture and you used techniques to build your organic matter?

Consider donation

If you or your accountant need of finding you a new, or better suited for you, IRS tax deduction, why not consider a donation to your local SWCD. Any soil and water conservation district is a legal subdivision of the state of Ohio and thus qualifies under IRS Code 170(c)(i). Charitable contributions to government units are tax deductable if made for a public purpose.

No, we are not a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which are typical recipients of many donations. We are also not controlled by Washington or Columbus or Hollywood actors. We are local and controlled by local boards of supervisors who reflect the interests of the local landowners like you.

In fact, it was the local landowners like you who voted us into existence back in the 1940s when we were all created at the county level by referendums.

A number of readers of this column maybe recent recipients of or are soon to be recipients of money, the result of new leases with oil and gas companies or even money from current production. Perhaps, after buying some frivolous toys or paying off indebtedness once and for all, this column is suggesting a win-win way for you and your taxes.

As long as the county commissioners continue to fund us, along with state and local support as well, and perhaps with some donations along the way, we will try to be there for you to the best of our ability.

(Jeff is the district manager for the Medina SWCD since 2006. Before that he was an area representative with the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Conservation throughout Northeast Ohio for most of his career.)

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