Easement Programs

Landowners in Butler and Preble County may apply for the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Office of Farmland Preservation’s Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) from January 2, 2017 through February 15th, 2017.

As the second highest awardee in the state, The Three Valley Conservation Trust (TVCT) has an estimated $496,854 to distribute to agricultural landowners in Butler and Preble Counties through the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). The pre-selection for interested landowners will begin on January 2nd and close on February 15th. Please call at (513) 524-2150 or email TVCT at landpro@3cvt.org for more information.

The LAEPP allows local landowners to voluntarily sell property development rights via agricultural an easement to the State of Ohio. The easement limits the use of land to predominately agricultural activity. The land remains under private ownership and management, and stays on tax rolls under Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV). The farmland can be sold or passed along as a gift to others at any time, but restrictions prohibiting non-agricultural development stay with the land in perpetuity.

Qualifying farms must be: 1) at least 40 contiguous acres (exceptions may apply) and 2) currently enrolled in CAUV and the Agricultural District Program through the county auditor’s office. The farm owner has to demonstrate good stewardship of the property and possess a clean title. The successful applicants will need to have support from their local government for the easement.

Since the beginning of this program in 2002, the Office of Farmland Preservation has received approximately 2,875 applications for the highly competitive LAEPP. Easements have been secured on 374 farms totaling 63,049 acres in 55 counties across Ohio.

Interested?  Please fill out an Intent to Apply FormIn DOC format or In PDF Format

Want to know more about all types of Easements?

Conservation and Agricultural Easements 

A conservation or agricultural easement is a voluntary legal agreement between you and a qualified organization − such as Three Valley Conservation Trust − that protects your land while you continue to own it, and beyond. The organization’s duty is to uphold the terms of the easement in perpetuity.

A conservation or agricultural easement (referred to below as a “conservation easement” is a customized legal agreement that permanently limits certain uses of the land, or a portion of the land, in order to protect its natural and/or agricultural values. The landowner retains all other rights and may sell or transfer the land to heirs, but all future owners are bound by the easement’s terms.

Donation of a Conservation Easement

A Conservation Easement is considered a qualifying charitable donation by the US Internal Revenue Service. Thus, the landowner may be eligible for a federal income tax deduction equal to the appraised valuation of the easement donation – the difference between the land’s fair market value with and without the easement in place. In addition, estate taxes could be reduced, making it easier for heirs to keep the property intact.

Bargain Sale of a Conservation Easement

Landowners placing their land under easement sometimes receive funding from certain federal and/or state funded, competitive programs. Each program is different, depending on the type and use of the land the program conserves, and each follows a unique methodology and timeline
These programs include:

A bargain sale of a conservation easement is the ideal option if you wish to gain income from your land without having to sell the property. Bargain sale conservation easements allow you to receive cash, have the potential for reduced capital gains tax, and the possibility of a charitable income tax deduction. Keeping in mind that these programs are highly competitive, have no guarantee of funding, and require permanent conservation restrictions recorded on your deed.

Donation of Fee Simple Property to the Three Valley Conservation Trust

  • You transfer property to TVCT and secure a charitable income tax deduction based on the fair market value of the property
  • You pay no capital gains taxes on the property appreciation
  • You can apply the deduction for 50% of your adjusted gross income and carry it forward for up to 16 years*

*Subject to legislative change

Baseline Documentation and Annual Site Visits

The trust will determine the financial and management implications of each transaction and establish that it has or can raise the funds needed to monitor and enforce the easement.  Once the land is under easement, monitoring will occur regularly, at least annually, in a manner appropriate to the size and restrictions of each property to that documentation, including reports, photographs, and maps, can be kept up to date.

TVCT administers several types of easements.  Establishing an initial baseline depends on the conditions specified within the easement and those conditions are dependent on the type of easement.  There are three main types of easements: conservation, agricultural conservation, and both agriculture and conservation purposes.  For the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) the preliminary document for an easement is called the Present Condition Report (PCR).  For a conservation easement the document is called a Baseline Documentation Report (BDR).

The owner of an easement is always contacted prior to the expected day of monitoring so that they may accompany the monitors if they wish.  Monitoring is mostly done by experienced volunteers.  Teams of two go out into the field to take pictures, GPS coordinates, and keep reports of the property year after year.  The key locations on the property that are usually documented include the property corners, boundaries, and around homesteads.

Sample documents

  • Conservation Easement – Coming soon…
  • Baseline Report – Coming soon…

Downloadable Brochures