Estimating the Benefits to Local Stakeholders from Agricultural Conservation Easements

This paper maps out the varied beneficiaries for a local government service that is relatively new and likely to expand in its geographic incidence and total taxpayer dollars spent--employing public funds to prevent conversion of land out of farm use by purchasing agricultural conservation easements. Beginning in 1977 with the first purchase by New York's Suffolk County, local governments in coastal states, as well as some in the Midwest and other interior regions, have bought easements to prevent current and future owners from developing farmland for nonagricultural purposes (e.g., residential, commercial). But the owners "retain all other rights and responsibilities that go with land ownership, such as the right to sell the property and liability for property taxes" (Daniels and Bowers 1997, p. 145). As of mid-2002 twenty-three states had established state-level programs for purchase of agricultural conservation easements (PACE) that collectively protected more than 800,000 acres (American Farmland Trust, 2002a, 2002b). And there were at least 51 local-level programs.

Downloadable Documents: 
J. Dixon Esseks, Richard C. Owens, Charles A. Francis
DeKalb, IL: American Farmland Trust
Page Numbers: 
Publication Date: 
November 1, 2003
Literature Category: 
Reports and Studies