Farmland preservation applications deadline March 31

LOCK HAVEN — Clinton County Agriculture Preservation Board wants to remind area farmland owners of 35 acres or more, the current round of applications to the Farmland Preservation Program will be accepted until March 31, 2019.

The next round of applications will be eligible for April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2021. Applications submitted previously can be resubmitted to be reconsidered for the next round, if they so choose.

Clinton County’s program, similar to 57 other county programs, pays farmland owners for conservation easements to be placed on valuable farmland.

The easement purchases the development rights of the land, thus preserving the farmland forever. Payments in Clinton County have ranged from $1,000 per acre to $2,000 per acre, depending on quality, size, and location. A major portion of the funding for this program comes from the state’s tobacco tax.

The Clinton County Commissioners also appropriate a significant amount for easement purchases. Since its creation in 1996, there have been easements placed on 28 farms.

Three of those farm owners donated the conservation easements, accepting only $1 for their easements. In this way, the owners are assured that the farmland will remain as farmland for future generations, not to be developed. Conservation Easements are permanent and remain with the property deed whenever it is sold.

The Agriculture Preservation Board consists of seven board members: Acting Chairman Dan Chappell, Vice-Chair Steve Bason, and Directors Mae Johnson, Chuck Bechdel, John Lucas, Jim Harbach, and Tim Owens.

If you have questions, or need an application form or additional Information, please contact any director or call Mary Ann Bower, Clinton County’s Program Administrator, 570-726-3798.