Conservation Options for Landowners Program to be Held in Barnesville

On Thursday, April 28, a “Conservation Options for Belmont County Landowners” program will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Stillwater Science Center, located at 998 Shamrock Drive in Barnesville. This program, which is sponsored by Belmont County Farm Bureau in cooperation with Captina Conservancy, Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be an opportunity for property owners to learn about land protection options available through conservation or agricultural easements. This program is free and open to the public.

Rich Sidwell, executive director of the Captina Conservancy, will provide an overview of land trusts and the options they provide to landowners. Legal easement basics will be discussed, including who can establish them, what steps are required, and potential tax benefits. Landowners in this region who are wondering whether their mineral leases would prohibit them from placing any protective easements on their properties will get a chance to explore that issue as well as other questions they may have.

The Captina Conservancy was founded in 2010 to serve Belmont County and specifically the Captina Creek Watershed. The organization currently holds two conservation easements in Belmont County totaling 1,016 acres, is acquiring another forested 112-acre tract in Monroe County, and is consulting on a pending easement in Noble County. Captina Conservancy is a member of the national Land Trust Alliance and the Coalition of Ohio Land Trusts. Land trusts are nonprofit, non-governmental organizations funded by charitable donations to protect and conserve lands within their mission regions. They work to educate the public about conservation in their communities while overseeing easements, and in some cases, owning properties.

Samantha Ackerman, agriculture technician at Belmont Soil and Water Conservation District, will provide an overview of farmland preservation opportunities in Belmont County through the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP). LAEPP provides funding to farmland owners for placing an agricultural easement on their property. David Bauerbach, cistrict Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Belmont and Monroe counties, will provide information about the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) available in these counties, in addition to other assistance offered by NRCS to landowners.

For more information about this program, contact Betsy Anderson of the Belmont County Farm Bureau by phone at 740-425-3681 or by email at [email protected].