2007-09-15 / News

Farms selected for agricultural easement purchase program

REYNOLDSBURG - The Ohio Department of Agriculture's Officeof Farmland Preservation is scheduled to purchase easement rights on 3,316 acres of farmland from 20 farms in 11 counties under the sixth funding round of the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program. A total of $3.1 million from the Clean Ohio Fund and $168,000 from USDA's Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program will be used to purchase agricultural easements on the farms for permanent preservation.

"In the last 50 years more than 6.9 million acres of Ohio farmland have been converted from agricultural use," said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs. "Agriculture in Ohio is a multi-billion industry adding nearly $94 billion into the economy. It is imperative that we work to save our most valuable resource through farmland preservation."

An agricultural easement is an agreement between the landowner, the state, and the local community to keep a piece of property in agricultural production forever. 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 non-farm development travels with the land and future owners cannot convert the land to non-farm uses.

After reviewing and scoring landowner's applications, the Ohio Farmland Preservation Advisory Board recommended 20 farms for funding. The landowners have agreed to the offers by the department to purchase an agriculture easement on their farm, pending completion of a legal review, title search, boundary review, and any necessary review of third party interests. The only lake-area farm on the list is Mary and Michael Thomas' 52.36 acre farm near Baltimore.

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