In 2017 the Greenbrier County Farmland Protection Board (GCFPB) secured permanent protection on the High Valley Farm owned by Jane and Sam Morgan, a 216-acre cattle farm in the Organ Cave area.
The Farmland Protection Program is a voluntary program that offers landowners the opportunity to sell or donate a permanent conservation easement on qualifying farmland, with the quality of the soil being the most important factor. The West Virginia State Farmland Protection Authority partnered with the GCFPB to purchase development rights on this farm with the intent of keeping its productive farmland in agricultural use.
Jane and Sam Morgan, cattle farmers and local business owners – they operated the historic and natural landmark Organ Cave Inc. They began the process of protecting their farm in 2010. In the fall of 2016, Jane Morgan died suddenly, and in June 2017, Sam Morgan finalized the transaction in her honor. In December 2017, Sam passed away unexpectedly. With the assistance of the county program, the Morgans were able to fulfill their goal of ensuring the land they spent their lives managing was preserved forever.
In accordance with state law, a portion of the real estate transfer tax is made available for the purchase of conservation easements on farmland in Greenbrier County. Additionally, to encourage land conservation nationally, tax benefits are available for the donation of qualifying easements. Information about the program is available in the Planning Department in the Greenbrier County Courthouse.
More than 2,500 acres of Greenbrier County farmland has been placed in conservation easements since the county activated the program in 2006.
Applications for funding under the current cycle are being accepted through Sept. 28. Additional information about the program is available on the Greenbrier County website www.greenbriercounty.net, and on http://wvfp.org/.