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.
Conservation easements are voluntary legal agreements between a landowner and a qualified non-profit land trust – such as PCC Farmland Trust – where the landowner agrees to restrict certain uses of the land while retaining the right to continue working it. In our case, we hold agricultural conservation easements with landowners, which ensure that the property is forever in agricultural use. The easement does this by permanently removing development rights and protecting the property’s agricultural values, including the soils, water rights, and open space. For more information, please read our Conservation Easement FAQ.
For farmers who are ready to purchase property but might be limited by the cost of land, PCC Farmland Trust can sometimes 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.
Bridging the Gap
PCC Farmland Trust deploys several creative tools for acquiring and protecting farmland. In certain circumstances, the Trust will purchase farmland property and then, over a period of time, sell it to a qualified farmer, or arrange a lease-to-own with a farm tenant. When it is necessary to purchase threatened farmland properties, the Trust uses dedicated funds which are required to be repaid within specified time periods. Lease and purchase terms and length will often vary, depending on the property configuration, infrastructure, and location.
Learn more about agricultural conservation easements, or download our farmer resources packet for tips and tools on farmland conservation, succession planning, and more. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on land opportunities.