Depending on the needs and priorities of the farmer, our funding sources, or the land itself, we deploy a variety of conservation tools to protect valuable farmland. Below are three of our core conservation approaches. For a more detailed breakdown of these approaches, including scenarios from our previously conserved farms, read this letter from our Executive Director.
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified land trust – such as PCC Farmland Trust – where the landowner agrees to restrict certain uses of the land as they continue managing it. In our case, we hold agricultural conservation easements with landowners, which ensure that the property is forever in agricultural use. In exchange for the permanent removal of a farm’s development rights, we pay the landowner for the value of those rights, and commit to stewarding the soil, water, and open space on that property in perpetuity.
For farmers who are ready to purchase property but might be limited by the cost of land, PCC Farmland Trust will arrange a “simultaneous sale,” wherein the Trust purchases a conservation easement simultaneous to the farmer purchasing the land. This enables a farm buyer to purchase land at the true agricultural value and ensures that the property will be protected as farmland, forever.
Similar to a simultaneous sale, Buy-Protect-Sell is a strategy that is designed to support landowners limited by land costs. To implement Buy-Protect-Sell, the Trust raises the capital necessary to purchase farmland and get it off the market quickly. From there, development potential is removed through a conservation easement. With development rights removed, farmers are able to lease or purchase the property from us over time at a more affordable rate. Selling land also allows us to recycle dollars and fund future projects. Learn more our campaign to protect Puget Sound farmland using this conservation strategy.