Conservation easements are a legal tool that have traditionally been used to guarantee that land will be held in conservation status – meaning not developed for human use but protected in its natural state – for future generations. More and more they are also being used to keep land in agricultural use. This means that conservation easements are also a great tool for protecting farmland from the threat of development, which is good for farmland security. But there is another way that conservation easements can create more farmland security. Conservation easements reduce the value of land because the land can no longer be used for its “highest use” (ha!) which is is for houses/industry/commercial use. This means that land held in a conservation easement can be more affordable, which is great for beginning farmers and ranchers!

To learn more about conservation easements, watch our webinar Practicalities and Realities in Farmland Law Session 2 of 2. This webinar was originally created as part of a two-part series for agricultural service providers, but it is also just as helpful for farmers themselves. Part 2 of this series explores RFRs and OTPs, conservation Easements, and social justice and non-traditional land access strategies in three hours. The conservation easements section is in the last hour (starting at around 2hrs.4min.). Start there to hear from Kathy Ruff from Land for Good and Rachel Armstrong from Farm Commons, as they dig into the details of conservation easements and how they can work for farmers.