Monday, March 23, 2015

Conservation options for landowners is topic of April 22 meeting in Senecaville

Landowners in Belmont, Guernsey and Noble counties can learn about the conservation protection options available to them at an April 22 meeting in Senecaville.
The meeting, which is sponsored by the area Farm Bureau office in cooperation with the Soil and Water Conservation Districts and OSU Extension, will be held at 7 p.m. at the Mid-East Career Center, Buffalo Campus, 57090 Vocational Rd., Senecaville.  The meeting will be an opportunity for property owners to learn about the land-protection options available via conservation and/or agricultural easements.
The meeting is free and open to the public. The area Farm Bureau is providing this meeting as an introduction to land conservation and land trust programming.

Kendrick Chittock, project manager for Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and Rich Sidwell, executive director of Captina Conservancy, will provide an overview of land conservancies and the options they provide to landowners.  Legal easement basics will be discussed, including who can establish them and what steps are required.  The overview will also list the benefits including tax reduction possibilities. 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.

Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the largest land trust in Ohio, has permanently preserved 558 properties and 41,954 acres, including 175 private farms and nearly 24,000 acres of farmland.  The Land Conservancy was formed in 2006 when eight local land trusts joined forces in the largest merger of its type in the United States.  Captina Conservancy was founded in 2010 to serve Belmont County and specifically the Captina Creek watershed. It is currently finalizing easement projects totaling 1,128 acres in Belmont and Monroe Counties and consulting on a pending easement in Noble County.

Both groups are members 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.
For more information on the meeting, contact Farm Bureau Organization Director Betsy Anderson at (740) 425-3681, or write to her at 100 Colonel Dr., Barnesville, Ohio 43713.

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