Farmland protection grants available


SALEM, Ohio – The Center for Farmland Policy Innovation at Ohio State University is looking for a few fresh ideas for farmland protection.
The center, which opened in March, will distribute $180,000 in grant funding to communities with an innovative idea for a farmland protection project.
Primary applicants for the funding must be a governing body of an Ohio county, township or municipality. However, those entities may partner with other communities, agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Oct. 2 deadline. Proposals, which are due Oct. 2, must include a 25 percent local match in direct or in-kind funding.
Jill Clark, the center’s interim director, said proposals can include ideas that are completely new to Ohio or ideas that are a spinoff of a current practice.
The funding, available through the center’s Farmland Protection Partnership Program, comes from the USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.
Wide range. There is not a set number of projects that will be accepted, as the center is expecting a wide range of proposals requesting various amounts of money.
“From the letters of interest we’ve already received, I think we could spend the money we have available a couple times over already,” Clark said.
The grant is a one-time allocation, but the center has applied to be re-funded through USDA next year and it is looking for additional funds as well.
One of the program’s main objectives is to develop good models of farmland protection so Ohio communities can look to one another for unique, economical farmland protection ideas.
“We are hoping the community will be coming up with the ideas and really driving the process,” Clark said.
The applicants’ local partners will participate in ongoing education for other Ohio municipalities, which will help spread the new farmland protection ideas around the state.
Possible projects. According to the Farmland Protection Partnership Program, possible projects could include creating the policy for a new farmland protection program (such as a transfer of development rights program), developing agricultural supportive zoning, establishing a agritourism program, developing an agricultural economic development initiative and establishing formal relationships between local governments and nonprofit land trusts in regard to land protection.
Proposed projects should be completed in one to two years.
Applicants may contact the center at 614-247-6479 for assistance with developing proposals and project budgets.
Clark said the program’s main goal is to help build the capacity of local governments to protect farmland. Other goals include successful local projects in Ohio and generating innovative programs so municipalities can learn from in-state examples.
(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at


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