ODA to buy ag easements on 23 farms for preservation

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation has agreed to purchase agricultural easements from 23 families in 14 counties under the fifth funding round of the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program.
Stays in agriculture. An agricultural easement is an agreement between the landowner, the state, and the local community to keep a piece of property in agricultural production in perpetuity.
Landowners may undertake any agricultural activity permitted under Ohio law, and can sell their farm or pass it along as a gift to others. The restriction prohibiting nonfarm development, however, travels with the land and future owners cannot convert the land to nonfarm uses.
For the 2006 funding, 16 of the 23 farmland owners donated at least 60 percent of the value of their agricultural easement. The federal government considers such a donation as a gift, and the landowner may be eligible for federal tax benefits.
The latest round encompasses 5,412 acres.
Turned down. In total, the department received applications from 188 farm families in 29 counties offering 30,798 acres for protection.
Since the inception of the program in 2002, the department has received 1,368 applications from landowners in more than 60 counties.
Almost 100 farms. The program is part of the Clean Ohio initiative to protect rural greenfields and reclaim brownfields. To date, $15.6 million in Clean Ohio Funds, as well as $7.9 in federal grant funds, has been allocated to purchase agricultural easements on 97 farms in 22 counties, totaling 20,087 acres.

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