The Ontario Farmland Trust (OFT) has successfully pioneered the development and application of agricultural easements over the past several years as a new, farmer-led approach to permanently protecting Ontario farmland. Within the farm community, however, there remains some confusion and lack of awareness about land protection options and the financial and legal implications of easements on farm properties.
In 2015-2016, OFT is leading an Agricultural Easement Innovation project to support broader acceptance and use of farm easements throughout the province. The project will provide farmers and their advisors (accountants, lawyers, etc.) with straight-forward, practical information about agricultural easements to be able to make informed decisions about the future of their land, their farm businesses and farm succession.
The Agricultural Easement Innovation Project will help OFT:
– Determine the best messaging and approach to disseminating information about easements and voluntary land protection options to Ontario farmers
– Develop a wide range of related outreach materials and learning opportunities
– Engage directly with farmers, farm advisors and the agri-business community to raise awareness and support for agricultural easement initiatives.
A working group of farmers, farm advisors, and farm organizations will be assembled to review and discuss the technical details of agricultural easements, easement innovation and integration with farm business and succession planning. Outcomes include a number of new resources, communication products and workshops for the farm community to explain easement benefits and considerations, and an overall better understanding of what is needed to scale-up the use of agricultural easements with interested farmers throughout Ontario.
This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.