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Definition:
What is an Agricultural Conservation Easement?
  • An agricultural conservation easement is a deed restriction landowners voluntarily place on their property to prohibit any land use other than for agricultural land uses.  It will allow the land to remain in agriculture in perpetuity.  

  • Agricultural conservation easements are used by landowners to authorize a qualified conservation organization to monitor and enforce the restrictions set forth in the agreement. 

  • Agricultural conservation easements are designed to keep land available for farming.

Why is it important to Preserve Farmland?

  • To assure affordable and accessible food supplies.

  • To encourage soil and water conservation and to ensure a natural ground water recharge.

  • To keep demand for public services and the taxes needed to support them lower.

  • To preserve the culture and heritage associated with the farming community.

  • To help preserve and save open space, the aesthetics and the quality of life that we all want to continue to enjoy.

 

Eligibility Requirements:  
To Qualify for the ACE Program, the Farm Must:

  • Be located in an Agricultural Security Area.

  • Contain at least 50% of soils which are available for agricultural production and are of capability classes I-IV. 

  • Contain 50% harvested crop land, pasture lands or grazing lands. 

  • Must be at least 50 contiguous acres in size, 25 acres for a County only purchase, or a minimum of 10 acres of a unique crop, or 10 contiguous acres with an attached perpetual agricultural conservation easement.

How Farms Are Chosen For Easement Purchase:
  • Farmland Preservation is a voluntary program.  Any landowner meeting the minimum criteria is eligible to apply to the program. 
  • The farm is ranked according to the Land Evaluation Site Assessment (LESA) program.  The LESA program considers four factors: soils, farmland potential, development potential, and clustering potential.  
  • Provided funds are available, the farms that score the highest are chosen for easement purchase.  
  • The quantity of farms selected is dependent upon the amount of funding available for each year.

 

Conservation Easement Application Form SAMPLE
Program Booklet
LESA Ranking (soil 40%)

 

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