Nearly 300 farms vie for easement funds


REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The third round of Ohio’s farmland preservation funding drew applications from 271 farm families.

The applications total approximately 45,233 acres of farmland.

Permanent easement. Under the state’s program, landowners voluntarily sell a permanent agricultural easement to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which means the land will never be developed for any purposes except agricultural.

At the half-way point of the $25 million pilot program, the department has purchase easements on 37 farms totaling 7,447 acres, according to Ohio Agriculture Director Fred L. Dailey.

More than $3.1 million will be distributed for this funding round.

What’s next. The applications have received their first round of scoring.

A formula ranks the applications based on soil quality, proximity to other protected areas, utilization of best management practices, urban development pressure, and local support and planning.

A 12-member Farmland Preservation Advisory Board met April 8 to conduct the next round of scoring.

They reviewed answers to a set of questions designed to provide further insight into the farm’s operations, the farm’s estate and conservation plans, local agricultural infrastructure, and local farmland protection efforts.

Scores from both rounds will be combined, and the advisory board will present its recommendations to Dailey, with preliminary recipients expected to be announced around late April.


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