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ODA program lessens the losses for tobacco farmers, protects land

Lawrence County tobacco farmers could be eligible for their share of a $1-million project aimed at protecting their farmland, thanks to the new Tobacco Agriculture Easement Purchase Program.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Lawrence County tobacco farmers could be eligible for their share of a $1-million project aimed at protecting their farmland, thanks to the new Tobacco Agriculture Easement Purchase Program.

The Southern Ohio Agriculture and Community and Development Foundation will pay $500 per acre to tobacco farmers who are willing to donate an agriculture easement on their farm to the Ohio Department of Agriculture. An agriculture easement is an agreement between the farmer and the state to keep a piece of land in agriculture production for life.

The landowner can sell, or pass the property along to others as a gift, but the easement follows the land. To qualify, a tobacco farmer must have owned real property and owned quota or produced tobacco on that property located in a traditional tobacco county from 1997 through 2000.

The program, according to information from the ODA, is designed to help lessen the losses for tobacco farmers and protect farmland for the future. The purchase program is one of four pilot programs designed to provide an economic cushion for tobacco farmers. The program was established with funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement through the Ohio legislature.

Applications for the program will only be accepted through April. For more information, producers should contact the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District at 867-4737.