Buying a conservation easement on farmland threatened with development
Who May Apply?
- Nonprofit nature conservancy corporations or associations
- State Conservation Commission
Funding comes from the sale of state bonds and is awarded every 2 years.
No grant limits, except for the following:
- Enhancement and restoration elements may not exceed more than half of the total acquisition costs, including match toward acquisition.
- Farm stewardship plans may not exceed $10,000.
A 50 percent match is required, except for the state Conservation Commission, which has no match. Match may include the following:
- Appropriations or cash
- Donations of cash, land, labor, equipment, and materials
- Other grants
- Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials
- Land acquisition through easements and leases (required for all projects). Public access is not required.
- Enhancement or restoration, such as installing fences to keep livestock out of streams, replanting riverbanks, restoring historic water runoff patterns, improving irrigation, and installing solar well pumps. These activities must further the ecological functions of the farmland.
- Combination of land acquisition and either restoration or enhancement
- Stewardship plans
- Acquisition of rights for less than 25 years, of land already owned by the government, or of property acquired via a condemnation
- Consumable supplies such as fuel, fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, except as a one-time application in an otherwise eligible restoration activity
- Elements that cannot be defined as fixtures or capital items
- Environmental cleanup of illegal activities, such as meth labs
- Indoor facilities
- Organizational operating expenses or overhead
- Purchase of maintenance equipment, tools, or supplies
- Restoration work done before a grant agreement is signed
- Transfer of development rights
Land must be kept and maintained for farmland for at least 25 years. Development rights may not be transferred.
More information is in Manual 7: Long-term Obligations.