2015 Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program

PERRYSBURG – Black Swamp Conservancy (the Conservancy) will serve as a Sponsor Organization for Ohio’s Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, or LAEPP. As a non-profit land trust, the Conservancy is dedicated to protecting and conserving natural and agricultural lands in northwest Ohio. Since beginning work with LAEPP in 2002, the Conservancy has worked with landowners to protect thousands of acres of Ohio farmland. This year, the state has allocated $658,302 for LAEPP in Northwest Ohio.

The LAEPP is operated by the Department of Agriculture. A farmland owner sells his development rights through a legal document called an agricultural easement, a three-party voluntary land conservation agreement of the landowner, the Department of Agriculture, and the conservancy. Agricultural easements require that the current owner and all future owners of the property use the land mostly for farming, in perpetuity.

According to LAEPP guidelines, a farm is defined as a contiguous tract of land, meaning all parcels must touch one another to be considered part of the same farm. Parcels that that are separated only by a road, ditch, stream or river are considered contiguous. All contiguous land owned by the same legal entity must be included in an application.

“The LAEPP is a great opportunity for landowners to protect and ensure that their rich farmland is protected from development now and in the future,” said Chris Collier, the land protection specialist at the Conservancy.

More information about the conservancy is available online at www.blackswamp.org.  The Ohio Department of Agriculture’s LAEPP page can be found at: http://www.agri.ohio.gov/divs/FarmLand/FarmLand.aspx?div=Farm_AEPP_Index.htm