Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP)

Ohio Department of Agriculture


Grant amount: Up to US $500,000

Next deadline: Apr 18, 2019 (Full proposal)

Later deadlines: Oct 12, 2019 (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Ohio

Location of residency: Ohio

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Overview:

Note: Local sponsors must complete the certification process by the 'pre-proposal' deadline above. Local sponsors that have completed the certification process may access the landowner application and submit by the 'Full proposal' deadline above. 

The Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) provides funding to assist landowners and communities in preserving Ohio's farmland, our most vital resource. The program purchases agricultural easements from landowners who volunteer to keep their land in agricultural production in perpetuity. In 2013 the program was changed to the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) to reflect the increased role of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's (ODA) local sponsors lin farmland preservation: counties, cities, townships, Soil & Water Conservation Districts and land trusts.

The Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) provides funding to farmland owners for placing an agricultural easement on their property. Monies are issued for up to 75 percent of the appraised value of a farm’s development rights. A payment cap has been set at $2,000 per acre, with a maximum of $500,000 per farm. All easement transactions are recorded on the property deed and transfer with the land to successive owners.

Landowners apply through pre-approved local sponsors using an online application on the ODA website. Each local sponsor receives a portion of the Clean Ohio funds appropriated that year to purchase easements from the highest scoring applicants in their area. The program is highly competitive with about one in 15 applications being funded. The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program-Agricultural Land Easement (ACEP-ALE, formerly FRPP) funds, administered by the US Department of Agriculture, may be used to match Clean Ohio funds for up to 50% of the easement value, leveraging Clean Ohio dollars and allowing more landowners to participate in the easement program. The landowner may use proceeds from the easement's sale for any purpose but most commonly funds are used to purchase additional acreage or equipment, expand farm operations, retire debt, plan for retirement or pay for education. 

When a landowner proposes to sell an easement to ODA, the landowner must be able to demonstrate that retaining that farm in agricultural production in perpetuity is compatible with the township's or county's community plan and that it is not in the direct path of development. ODA encourages local governments to identify areas where agriculture is the predominant land use and where landowners want to remain in farming and take steps to preserve blocks of land to support Ohio's # 1 industry, food and agriculture.


You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • The following requirements must be met by the farmland and owner at the time of application submission:
    • The farm must be enrolled in CAUV and the Agricultural District Program through the county auditor’s office. 
    • The farm must be a minimum of 40 acres unless the farm is adjacent to a preserved farm, then it must be a minimum of 25 acres.
    • The farmland owner must certify that the property does not contain hazardous substances.
    • The farmland owner must have been in compliance with state and federal agricultural laws for the past five years.
    • The farmland owner must have possession of the clear title to the applicant property.
    • The local sponsor must agree to share monitoring and enforcement responsibilities.
    • A minimum of 25 percent of the points-based appraised value of the agricultural easement must be provided either in cash match by the local sponsor, donation by the landowner, or a combination of donation and cash match. 
  • Landowners must apply for Clean Ohio funds through:
    • local governments (such as counties, townships, and municipalities),
    • Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), or
    • a charitable organization.
      • These entities are referred to as “local sponsors,” and once they are certified, they have the ability to submit applications on a landowner’s behalf to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) for consideration