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Farmland Preservation

Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP)

Why Preserve Ohio Farmland? Between 1950 and 2007, Ohio lost more than 7 million acres of farmland, representing nearly one-fourth of Ohio’s land mass and a size equivalent to 23 Ohio counties. Ohio lost farmland at a much faster rate than other states, ranking second in the nation for lost prime farmland but only 31st in the nation for population growth.

What are the implications of Ohio’s loss of farmland? Land is at the heart of agriculture, and farmland preservation is at the center of maintaining the state’s agricultural heritage which provides food, energy, products, and jobs. Food and agriculture together constitute the state’s largest industry, contributing more than $105 billion annually to the state’s economy and providing jobs to one in seven Ohioans.

What is an Agricultural Easement? An agricultural easement is a voluntary, permanent, legally binding restriction placed on a farm. The easement limits landowners’ use of the land to predominantly agricultural activity. The restrictions of the easement prohibit landowners from converting the land to non-agricultural uses and are binding on all future owners of the property. The landowner who gives up these "development rights" continues to privately own and manage the land and may receive significant federal tax advantages for the donated portion of the easement. In addition, the landowner has contributed to Ohio’s public good by preserving the agricultural values associated with the farmland for future generations.

How does a landowner apply? Landowners must apply for Clean Ohio funds through local governments.  The Madison SWCD implements this program for the Madison County Commissioners and helps submit applications on a landowner’s behalf to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) for consideration.  Interested landowners are encouraged to contact us for more information. 

  • Download the brochure for a general overview about the Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP), which provides funding to farmland owners for placing an agricultural easement on their property.

  • When reading the easement, Local Sponsors, landowners, and professional advisors should focus on the Prohibited Uses or Restrictions and Grantor’s Reserved Rights. These sections detail the permitted and prohibited uses on the property. These clauses govern the agricultural and residential activities permitted on the agricultural property.

  • This link will take you off the Madison SWCD website to another page maintained by the Ohio Department of Agriculture Office of Farmland Preservation.