Ohio farmers can get help with farmland preservation

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Ohio farmers who want to preserve their farmland through the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program can apply now through April 26.

Agricultural easements are voluntary legal agreements restricting nonagricultural development on farmland, with the land itself remaining on the tax rolls and under private ownership and management.

Landowners may undertake any agricultural activity permitted under Ohio law, and they can sell their farm or pass it along as a gift to others. However, the easement remains with the land, prohibiting any future nonagricultural development to make certain that it remains used for agricultural purposes.

The process

To apply for the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, farmers must work through a sponsoring organization such as a local land trust, a Soil and Water Conservation District, or a group of local officials. These sponsors complete and submit applications on behalf of interested landowners.

Applicants have the possibility of earning up to 150 points on their two-part application.

Part one of the application focuses on development pressure, soils, proximity to land conducive to agriculture, best management practices, and local land use plans and preservation initiatives.

Part two includes narrative questions regarding the farm and its unique appeal to the program.

To access the 2010 application, or to obtain more information about the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, visit the department’s Web site at www.agri.ohio.gov.

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