More farms funded with second round of Clean Ohio agricultural easements

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – Farms in four Ohio counties are one step closer to selling easements to the Ohio Department of Agriculture during the latest round of farmland preservation funding.

Easement purchases on seven farms were recommended to Ohio Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey by an advisory board June 17.

Finalists. Finalists include:

Darrell Myers, 403 acres, Swanton, Fairfield County, $898,718;

Glenn Filbrun, 363 acres, Lewisburg, Preble County, $695,735;

Jim Schlatter, 304 acres, Delta, Fulton County, $589,490;

Marvin Berschet, 479 acres, South Charleston, Clark County, $519,865;

John Rife, 136 acres, Yellow Springs, Clark County, $223,261;

Bruce Dickerson, 135 acres, South Charleston, Clark County, $121,113; and

Delmar Augustus, 178 acres, South Charleston, Clark County, $86,789.

Per-acre values range from $489 to $2,230.

Plans to buy. The department of agriculture plans to buy agricultural easements from the top seven ranked farms, pending legal review, title search, boundary review, and any necessary subordination of third party interests.

If a farm drops out for any reason, it will be replaced by the next eligible highest-scoring farm on the list.

The farms, totaling 1,998 acres, were selected from the 299 applications from 45 counties received by the department’s Office of Farmland Preservation in April.

High value. All applications this round totaled more than 48,000 acres with an estimated agricultural easement value of nearly $70 million.

A clear message. “At the half way point of our four-year pilot program, we have received 741 applications from landowners in 56 counties, requesting funding for more than 117,000 acres of productive agricultural land,” Dailey said.

“This sends a clear message that farmers, citizens, and local officials across the state have a strong desire to preserve productive farmland in their communities.”

In the coming months, the state will distribute a portion of the total allotted money to the top-ranking farms.

Adding funds. The department of agriculture had $3.125 million available to purchase agricultural easements in perpetuity.

To help preserve more acres, the office is also pursuing up to $2 million in federal Farmland Protection Funds to add to the state fund and preserve more farms.

The federal decision on how much funding the state department of agriculture may be awarded is expected sometime this summer.

How it works. The Clean Ohio fund was established in July 2001 and includes $25 million in bond revenues to be spent over four years for farmland preservation.

By voluntarily selling an agricultural easement to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, a farmer can be paid the difference in price between the agricultural value and the development value and be assured the land will never be developed for any purposes except agricultural.

Land remains on the tax rolls and under private ownership and management.

Grants are issued for up to 75 percent of the appraised value of the easement; applicants must provide matching funds for at least 25 percent of the remaining value.

The farmer may also donate that portion of the value of the easement.

The maximum state grant cannot exceed $1 million per easement.

More information. For a complete list of the farms and scores, or for more information on the program, visit www.state.oh.us/agr and click on Farmland Preservation.

Applications for the next funding round will be available in early 2004.

(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at amyers@farmanddairy.com.)







Easement finalists



* Darrell Myers, Swanton, Fairfield Co., 403 acres at $2,230 per acre. Total: $898,718.

* Glenn Filbrun, Lewisburg, Preble Co., 363 acres at $1,916 per acre. Total: $695,735.

* Jim Schlatter, Delta, Fulton Co., 304 acres at $1,939 per acre. Total: $589,490.

* Marvin Berschet, South Charleston, Clark Co., 479 acres at $1,085 per acre. Total: $519,865.

* John Rife, Yellow Springs, Clark Co., 136 acres at $1,642 per acre. Total: $223,261.

* Bruce Dickerson, South Charleston, Clark Co., 135 acres at $897 per acre. Total: $121,113.

* Delmar Augustus, South Charleston, Clark Co., 178 acres at $487 per acre. Total: $86,789.

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