Discover three types of easements to preserve and protect your land now and for years to come
Many farmers, ranchers, and agricultural landowners across the United States are concerned with protecting their land and preserving it for future generations, and thankfully, there are three types of easements to help accomplish those goals.
1. Preservation Easements
Preservation easements protect against undesirable development or indirect deterioration of land, and are often used on privately owned historic properties. For example, preservation easements can prohibit such actions as topographic changes to a property, alterations to a structure’s significant features, and changes in the usage of a property and the buildings on it.
In short, according to the National Park Service, preservation easements enable property owners to retain private ownership of a property while ensuring that its historic character will be preserved.
Property owners may receive one or more tax benefits too, if certain criteria are met. They may be eligible for a federal income tax deduction for the value of the easement, and federal estate taxes may be reduced. Additionally, there may be local tax benefits where the property tax assessment is based on a property’s highest and best use.
2. Conservation Easements
Agricultural landowners may also opt for conservation easements, which are restrictions placed on properties to protect their associated resources. These easements constitute legally binding agreements that limit certain types of uses and/or prevents development from taking place on the land in perpetuity, while it remains in private hands.
According to The Nature Conservancy, conservation easements have several benefits for both landowners and the general public. They conserve watersheds and aquifers, helping ensure a clean supply of water for public use, and they protect and preserve open space along with agricultural lands – ideal for those looking to pass their land onto their children and grandchildren.
When it comes to protecting and preserving, many ag landowners with conservation easements implement Best Management Practices (BMPs), also known as “practical, cost-effective actions” that agricultural producers can take to conserve water and reduce the amount of pesticides, fertilizers, animal waste, and other pollutants entering our water resources. Moreover, conservation easements also offer tax benefits, which can help keep land intact and in private hands.
3. Recreational Easements
Finally, landowners may be interested in recreational easements, which allow the public to use undeveloped land for recreational uses such as biking, hiking, hunting, or fishing.
Recreational easements enable property owners to preserve their land while helping to cultivate wildlife habitats. Furthermore, along with creating a hospitable and welcoming environment for wildlife, those with recreational land can lease portions of their property to farmers – a mutually beneficial situation.
We Can Help With Easements
Like you, we know that land is our greatest asset and understand the importance of protecting our natural resources, and we are here to help our nation’s farmers and ranchers in their efforts in becoming good stewards of these resources. If you’re considering a change in strategy within your operation, whether it’s conservation, diversification, or expansion, contact AgAmerica Lending today.