What is an agricultural conservation easement?
- An agricultural conservation easement is a legal restriction on land development that limits future uses of land to agricultural purposes.
Why would a landowner want to sell an agricultural conservation easement?
- Selling a conservation easement can permanently protect a family's farmland from being lost to future non-agricultural development
- Landowners can receive cash for some of the equity tied up in their land and still retain ownership of their land.
- Conservation easements can be used as estate planning tools to help landowners successfully pass farms on to the next generation.
The State Agricultural Land Preservation Board has established minimum eligibility requirements for participation in the farmland preservation program. Farmland tracts must:
- Be located in an agricultural security area consisting of 500 acres or more.
- Be contiguous acreage of at least 35 acres in size unless the tract is at least 10 acres in size and is either used for a crop unique to the area or is contiguous to a property previously preserved with an agricultural conservation easement.
- Have at least 50% of the soils on the property in soil capability classes I-IV (as defined by the Lehigh County Soil Survey) and be available for agricultural production.
- Contain the greater of 50% or 10 acres of harvested cropland, pasture or grazing land.
The Lehigh County Agricultural Land Preservation Board will consider farms that do not meet all of the above State minimum criteria for 100% County funded agricultural easement purchases.
Landowners interested in applying to sell an agricultural conservation easement should contact the office by phone, e-mail, or by regular mail. The deadline for new applications is March 31st of each year.