South Carolina Farm Bureau helping keep land in the hands of farmers with new Land Trust

LOWRYS, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – the South Carolina Farm Bureau estimates that by 2040, more than 18 million acres of farm land will be gone because of continuing land development.

That’s a problem the organization is hoping to slow with the introduction of it’s all new Land Trust that’s looking to give farmers an alternative option to selling their property.

CN2’s Zane Cina gets all the details as Farm Bureau unveils it’s land saving program.

South Carolina Farm Bureau President Harry Ott says the purpose behind the new land trust is to give farmers a choice when someone comes looking to buy.

“We have people who have been farming land for a long time, generations, who are being offered on the I-26 corridor, $60,000 an acre. That is generational wealth, and it is hard to turn that down.” Ott said following the Land Trust unveiling. “But yet they are torn, because they don’t want to sell their property and they want to have something to continue farming and pass on to the next generation.”

According to Farm Bureau, the land trust is essentially a nonprofit organization that will work with farmers to conserve their land using a legal agreement called a conservation easement that protects property from commercial and residential development.

“That’s all we’re doing is offering him a negotiated settlement between the purchase price that somebody offered, and his price of selling those development rights but retaining ownership of the land and the ability to continue to farm and pass his land to future generations,” Ott said.

Farm Bureau also boast that it will help all applicants through the process, and adds this is being paid for through fundraising and the state’s conservation bank which provides funding to conserve natural resource lands, amongst other things.

The new trust is open to anyone with farm or timber land in South Carolina, and Ott says they’ve already received 24 applications to join the land trust, adding he expects that number will go up.

Chester County Farm Bureau also announced at the event that it will kick start funding efforts for the new land trust by donating $10,000 to the program.

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