Farmland preservation program buys easements on 37 Ohio farms


REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — More than 6,279 acres from 37 farms will be preserved through the Ohio’s Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, using the first of four installments from the renewed Clean Ohio Fund.

This year, the Ohio Farmland Preservation Advisory Board reviewed 205 applications from 40 counties competing for the limited money available through the Clean Ohio Fund.

Competitive. Applicants had the opportunity to earn up to 150 points based on a two-tiered scoring system.

Section one of the application focused on development pressure, soils, proximity to other agricultural land, use of best management practices and local comprehensive land-use plans. Section two included narrative questions regarding the farm and its unique appeal to the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program.

An agricultural easement is a voluntary and legally-binding restriction placed on a farm. The easement limits the use of the land to predominantly agricultural activity.

The land remains under private ownership and management and stays on the tax rolls under Current Agricultural Use Valuation.

The farmland can be sold or passed along as a gift to others at any time, but the restriction prohibiting nonagricultural development stays with the land.

The Clean Ohio Fund bond initiative won support from Ohio’s voters last November to preserve farmland and green space, improve outdoor recreation and to encourage redevelopment and revitalize communities by cleaning up brownfields.

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