Farming and Conservation Easements: A Win-Win Partnership

Project Overview

Project Type: Sustainable Community Innovation
Funds awarded in 2004: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:
Mark Hostetler
University of Florida


Not commodity specific


  • Farm Business Management: business planning, conservation easements
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    With an ever-increasing human population, urban environments are dramatically expanding into rural lands. As a result, farming communities are often being displaced and the local citizens often do not realize that the health/character of their community is compromised with the loss of surrounding rural landscapes. Conservation easements are one option that is available to help farmers develop sustainable agriculture on their land. A conservation easement is a legal agreement to limit the amount of development on a property. Conservation easements help farmers maintain their land for agricultural production by reducing their estate, property, and income taxes. In turn, the conservation easement enhances the environmental quality of the area and conserves natural resources. This unique strategy is a mutual collaboration between local environmental organizations and the farmer. However, most people are not aware of the social, environmental, and economic benefits to conservation easements for both the local community and the farmer. Further, most are not aware of what a conservation easement is and how it can work. We propose producing and distributing a ½ hour video that educates farmers and the community about what conservation easements are and how they work. We plan to film success stories about conservation easements implemented on working farms, discussing the challenges, solutions, and benefits in establishing a conservation easement. The University of Florida’s WUFT TV, Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, and Conservation Trust for Florida are collaborating to produce this documentary that ultimately will be distributed throughout PBS affiliates and University Extension programs in the southern United States. Viewers will come away with a deeper appreciation and understanding of conservation easements.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objective of this project is to produce and distribute a ½ hour video that educates farmers and local communities about what conservation easements are and how they work. The long-term goal is to protect working farms and thousands of acres of rural land from development through the adoption of conservation easements.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.