Belmont County farmland owners are now able to participate in ODA’s Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). LAEPP provides funding to farmland owners for placing an agricultural easement on their property. The purpose of this program is to preserve Ohio’s farmland and ensure agricultural production within Ohio.

The easement limits the use of the land to predominately agricultural use. Monies are issued for up to 75 percent of the appraised value of a farm’s development rights. Payment caps have been set at $2,000 per acre and $500,000.00 per farm. These easement transactions are recorded on the property deed and transfer with the land to successive owners.

Eligible farms must be at least 40 acres or must be adjacent to already preserved land, the land must be enrolled in CAUV and the Agricultural District Program through the auditor’s office, and the farmland owner must have possession of the clear title to the applicant property. All contiguous acres under the same legal interest must be applied and after the easement is in place, the land cannot be subdivided.

Any Belmont County farmland owner interested in this program should contact Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District for more information. Call 740-526-0027 or email ackerman.swcd@yahoo.com. Applications will be accepted now through March 1, 2018.