In July, the Greenbrier County Farmland Protection Board (GCFPB) secured permanent protection on over 180 acres of prime farmland with the purchase of conservation easements on two farms in the county: Edgefield Farm in Renick and Hanson Cattle Farm in Lewisburg.
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 USDA”s Natural Resource and Conservation Service has partnered with the GCFPB to purchase development rights on these farms in order to keep productive farmland in agricultural use.
Edgefield Farm has been in the family for six generations, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The family manages an apple and fruit tree operation on the farm, which is covered by 100 percent prime soil. The Hanson Cattle farm, located north of Lewisburg, is operated by Dean and Julie Hanson.
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 credits 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 2,000 acres of Greenbrier County farmland has been placed in conservation easements since the county activated the program in 2006.
Additional information is also available on the Greenbrier County website www.greenbriercounty.net, and on www.wvfarmlandprotection.org.