Landowners may build agricultural buildings such as barns, poultry houses or milking facilities. The easement also allows for the construction of one additional residence on the restricted land. There are also restrictions on subdivision of land subject to these easements as well as part time or off season businesses.
The program is part of the state wide Farmland Preservation Program. As such, the program procedures must adhere to the state wide regulations. In general, these regulations provide guidance on:
Eligibility and application procedures
Scoring, ranking and selection of applications for easement purchase
Easement purchase procedures
Easement inspection requirements
Subdivision, rural enterprises and sales of farms
Funding for the program in
Grants are allocated to all participating counties.
Matching funds are allocated to all counties that provide funds for easement purchases. Both county allocated funds and rollback tax interest are matched.
GENERAL PROGRAM PROCEDURES
By regulation, county programs must accept, score and rank all eligible applications. The state regulations provide minimum criteria for eligibility which counties may supplement with acceptable additional criteria.
The farm is at least 50 contiguous acres. If the land adjoins another farm that is subject to an agricultural conservation easement, the farm must be at least 10 acres.
At least 50% of the farm must be in crop or pasture.
At least 50% of the farm must be in Class I through IV soils.
The farm must be enrolled in an Agricultural security Area of at least 500 acres.
The farm must have a conservation plan.
Also by regulation, applicants must be offered the opportunity to enter the program in the order that their application is ranked for any given year.
Applications are due the third Tuesday of January each year for consideration for that year. There is a 25 dollar application fee for each application. Applicants that are not selected in a given year are automatically considered in following years. There is no need to submit an application each year.
For applicants that are selected and choose to enter the program, the process of easement purchase starts with an appraisal to determine the easement value. Based on the appraisal, the applicant is made a written offer for the purchase of the easement. If the offer is accepted, the farm is surveyed and an Agreement of
An application for the easement purchase is then submitted to the
At settlement, the landowner receives the check and signs the Deed of Easement. Once the Deed is recorded at the Count Recorder of Deeds office, the process is complete and the farm is permanently preserved as farmland.
The above description is a simplified version of the actual process. It is recommended that interested landowners arrange a time to meet with District staff to go over the program in more detail.
For more information, click on the links below to read information or see documents on that topic.
Contact The Dauphin County Conservation District…
Dauphin County Conservation District
1451 Peters Mountain Road Dauphin PA 17018 phone: 717-921-8100