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Farmland Easements

Working to Preserve Gaston County's Working Family Farms

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For more information contact 704-922-2152.

A conservation easement is a restriction placed on a piece of property to protect its associated resources.

An easement is voluntarily donated by the land owner and constitutes a legally binding agreement that limits certain types of uses or prevents development from taking place on the land in perpetuity while the land remains in private hands.

Conservation easements protect land for future generations while allowing owners to retain many private property rights and to live on and use their land, at the same tie potentially providing them with tax benefits.

In a conservation easement, a land owner voluntarily agrees to sell or donate certain rights associated with his or her property--often the right to subdivide or develop--and a private organization or public agency agrees to hold the right to enforce the landowner's promise not to exercise those rights. In essence, the rights are forfeited and no longer exist.

tractor2An easement targets rights necessary to protect conservation values such as water quality, or wildlife migration routes. Each one is individually tailored to meet the landowner's needs. Because the land remains in private ownership, with the remainder of the rights intact, and easement property continues to provide economic benefits for the surrounding community.

A conservation easement is legally binding, whether the property is sold or passed on to heirs. Because land use is permanently restricted, land subject to a Conservation easement may be worth less on the open market than comparable unrestricted and developable parcels. Sometimes conservation easements will enable the landowner to qualify for tax benefit in compliance with Internal Revenue rules.

State and Federal funding is available to reimburse landowners for the cost of their development rights if they choose to permanently protect their land through a conservation easement. This funding is distributed via a grant approval process. Please explore the following related links for more information:

State Funding: NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund

Federal Funding: NRCS Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program