There are many different choices for land owners when it comes to conservation programs ranging from offsetting the cost of improvements to removing the land from agricultural use for a period of time to permanently protecting the land with a recorded easement. Whether you are a buyer or seller, these programs can tie into your evaluation of the property. Pfister Land Company and its affiliates have years of experience in helping owners find solutions that work for them, whether it be negotiating an easement or signing up for Conservation Reserve Program. The Time Is Now!
The most traditional tool for conserving private land, a “conservation easement” (also known as a conservation restriction) is a legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limits uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. It allows landowners to continue to own and use their land, and they can also sell it or pass it on to heirs. Trust's and agencies prefer conservation easements to be sold in perpetuity, but some can be for a finite amount of time.
Pfister Land Company has extensive experience and important contacts in this realm of real estate negotiation. It is not only something to watch out for on the title commitment but it may be a viable option to consider when packaging a land deal. Several of these NGO's that facilitate and possibly fund these transactions include The Nature Conservancy, Montana Land Reliance, The Land Trust Alliance, The Sonoram Institute, The American Farmland Trust, The Conservation Fund, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Jackson Hole Land Trusts and the Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trusts
Cost Share Programs
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program(EQIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers through contracts up to a maximum term of ten years in length. These contracts provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns and for opportunities to improve soil, water, plant, animal, air and related resources on agricultural land and non-industrial private forestland. In addition, a purpose of EQIP is to help producers meet Federal, State, Tribal and local environmental regulations.
Conservation Reserve Programs
The Conservation Reserve Program(CRP) is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency. In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are 10-15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.
Upcoming Programs in Farm Bill
There are changes to exisiting programs and new programs in the new Farm Bill that your local Conservation District or NRCS office can help interpret.