Ag Easement Purchase program
Ohio farmers wishing to preserve their farmland through the Clean Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program can find the 2009 application on the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Web site beginning.
The applications are used by the department to evaluate and purchase agricultural easements in an effort to preserve Ohio’s farmland. All applications must be submitted to the department by May 11 by 5 p.m.
Agricultural easements are voluntary legal agreements restricting non-agricultural development on farmland, with the land itself remaining on the tax rolls and under private ownership and management. Landowners may undertake any agricultural activity permitted under Ohio law, and they can sell their farm or pass it along as a gift to others. However, the easement remains with the land, prohibiting any future non-agricultural development to make certain that it remains used for agricultural purposes.
“Since the program’s inception in 2002, our department has preserved more than 26,000 acres of farmland,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs. “Due to the overwhelming support of the Clean Ohio bond issue by Ohio voters in the November election, we are able to continue this program, which helps us secure precious farmland, save jobs, and help Ohio’s economy.”
To apply for the program, farmers must work through a sponsoring organization such as a local land trust, a Soil and Water Conservation District, or a group of local officials. These sponsors complete and submit applications on behalf of interested landowners. Additional requirements must be met, such as the land must be located in an agricultural district and landowners must be willing to donate at least 25 percent of the easement’s points-based appraised value.
For more information on the Clean Ohio Fund, the Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, or for a copy of the 2009 application, visit www.agri.ohio.gov, or call the department’s Office of Farmland Preservation at 614-728-6210.
Tree sale under way
The Autumn Blaze maple, the 1997 Tree of the Year by the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association, is one of 13 different varieties being offered through the Ottawa Soil and Water Conservation District’s Annual Tree Sale.
The Autumn Blaze is an extremely fast-growing maple with brilliant red fall color. Under good conditions, it can grow three feet or more per year, to an ultimate height of 50 feet. It is tolerant of clay soils and drought and has a dense, oval head with strong branching. Developed in North Central Ohio, this tree will grow in a wide range of climates from Michigan to central Florida.
To obtain an order form, call 419-898-1595. The deadline to order is April 1.
Women in Ag conference
The Northwest Ohio Women in Agriculture Conference will be held March 13 at Nazareth Hall in Grand Rapids, O.
The keynote speaker will be farm wife, motivational speaker and columnist Melissa Hart from North Adams, Mich., who will address the issues of farm life.
Topics to be covered will include the basics of grain marketing, farm liability, CAUV and other farm taxes, the new Farm Bill update and identity theft. Other sessions will include hair and makeup tips, decorating on a budget, landscaping and emergency preparedness.
The conference is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and Women in Agriculture Committee. Early registration (until Feb. 27) is $45. After that date, the fee will be $50. For more information, call 419-354-9050 or visit http://www.osu.edu and click on “Women in Ag.”