Through the combined efforts of the farm owner, the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Cardinal Land Conservancy, a premier cattle farm in Scott Township has been preserved as farmland forever. On August 29, documents were signed placing an “agricultural easement” on 142.46 acres belonging to Alta Beasley and James Beasley, Co-Trustees. Having an agricultural easement on the property means that while the Beasleys will continue to own the farm and manage it and will be free to sell the farm or pass it down by will, the farm and its prime soils will no longer be in danger of being lost to non-agricultural development.
The signing of the easement resulted from several years of effort which started when the Southern Ohio Farmland Preservation Association (now part of the Cardinal Land Conservancy), acting as a local sponsor, applied for the Beasleys to the Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) administered by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation Office. The LAEPP, using funds from the Clean Ohio Program, compensates farm owners for part of the value by which the sale price of their farm is diminished by being restricted to agriculture.
Besides LAEPP funding, the local sponsor also assisted the Beasleys in applying for federal funds through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The Beasleys’ applications were granted by both the state of Ohio and the federal government. By applying for federal matching dollars, state funds could be used by the Cardinal Land Conservancy to preserve additional property in Clermont County.
Most of the farm’s rolling hills are devoted to pasture and hay production, but there are also significant woods and a small vineyard.
Preserving this farm as well-managed agricultural land will preserve important wildlife habitat and a substantial part of White Oak Creek, which runs along the entire eastern border.
Like most people who participate in farmland preservation programs, the Beasleys are motivated by their strong desire to keep their farm in agriculture forever.
As Jim Beasley recently stated, “Ever since we heard of the possibility of putting an agricultural easement on our farm, we wanted to do so because we did not want the farm we have carefully nurtured all these years to be lost to development or subdivision.”
To learn more about the Cardinal Land Conservancy or about land preservation efforts in the counties of Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, Highland or Warren, visit the Cardinal website at www.CardinalLandConservancy.org or call (513) 752-2828.