Agricultural Easements for Sustainable Agriculture
This training program is designed to increase institutional capacity to deliver education and assistance related to conservation easements, specifically the easements that address the unique needs of working farms. A 20-member planning team of farmers, legislators, state planning, historic resources, land trust, Cooperative Extension, and other USDA staff conducted an assessment of issues, experience, and research related to conservation easements on farm properties and convened a policy discussion by fifty key land conservation and agricultural decision leaders. Conference deliberations form the content outline for Conservation Easements on New Hampshire Farms: A Decision-Making Guide for Farmers, other Agricultural Professionals and Conservationists, a manual, fact sheets and other program materials for farmer, conservation and land-use planning audiences.
Involve a minimum of 25 staff from UNH Cooperative Extension and other agencies in a training conference to increase their knowledge of the issues related to conserving land for agricultural purposes. As a result of this training participants will learn the technical considerations related to land conservation options, particularly agricultural conservation easements; increase their understanding of the economic incentives to landowners implementing land conservation on their land; increase their understanding of conservation planning techniques used by communities and conservation groups, including geographic information system-based resource inventories; and increase their confidence and ability to effectively communicate land conservation information to farm and community audiences.
Develop an agricultural easement program that extension educators and other resource agency staff can take to farmers, planners, attorneys, land trusts, and conservation groups and be used for on-going staff training in order to increase awareness, knowledge and use of easements in land conservation strategies for farms.
A 20-member member planning team of farmers, legislators, and state planning, historic resources, land trust, Cooperative Extension and other USDA staff was organized to assess issues, experience, and research related to conservation easements on farm properties. They also worked to determine educational needs for farmers, other agricultural professionals, and conservationists. These efforts led to a policy conference exploring easement decision-making issues pertinent to farm families and businesses, easement holders, and funders. Seventy key agriculture and land conservation leaders were invited; 50 attended—this despite the event being rescheduled from March to May due to a blizzard.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Conference participants were successful in developing a common understanding about the issues farm families need to consider before deciding to place an easement on agricultural properties, what is involved in making provisions for agricultural uses within easements initiated or funded by non-agricultural entities, and what needs to be done by all parties to the process in order to put farm friendly easement deals together. The sharing of perspectives by easement holders, funders, and farmers led to a mutual understanding of needs and the development of strategies to accomplish mutual goals. Conservation Easements on New Hampshire Farms: A Decision-making Guide for Farmers, other Agricultural Professionals and Conservationists, consisting of a manual, fact sheets and other program materials is now being developed for farmers, other agricultural professionals, conservationists and land use planners. A February publication date is anticipated. Several conservation and agricultural organizations are working together on a series of programs related to agricultural easements to be held at the New Hampshire Farm and Forest Exposition in February of 2001.
Berry Hill Farm
61 Stratham Heights
Stratham, NH 03885
95 Swamp Rd
Epsom, NH 03234
Ten Harlan Drive
Barrington, NH 03825
Office Phone: 6036645838
PO Box 176
Stratham, NH 03885