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A farmland development rights agreement, also known as a conservation easement or agricultural easement, is a legally binding agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government entity.
The purpose of such an agreement is to permanently restrict the development or non-agricultural use of farmland, thereby preserving its agricultural character and protecting it from future development.
Under a farmland development rights agreement, the landowner voluntarily agrees to limit certain land uses or activities on their property in perpetuity.
The specific restrictions may vary depending on the terms of the agreement and the goals of the land trust or government entity.
Typically, the agreement prohibits or limits activities such as residential or commercial development, subdivision, mining, or other non-agricultural uses.
The landowner retains ownership of the land and can continue to use it for agricultural purposes, such as crop production or livestock farming.
However, they are bound by the terms of the agreement and cannot engage in activities that are inconsistent with the preservation of farmland.
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What is the Incentive?
In exchange for placing a farmland development rights agreement on their property, landowners may receive certain benefits.
These can include financial compensation, tax incentives, or other forms of assistance from the land trust or government entity.
The specific benefits depend on the terms of the agreement and the programs available in the respective jurisdiction.
Farmland development rights agreements are often used as a conservation tool to protect valuable farmland from urban sprawl, ensure the long-term viability of agricultural operations, and maintain open space and rural character.