New OFT Project Supports Farmland Easement Innovation
OFT is pleased to embark on a new research and education initiative in 2015 that will support innovative, farmer-led approaches to farmland protection, and uncover creative new ways to integrate farmland protection into farm business and farm succession planning.
Thanks to support from a Growing Forward 2 grant, the Farmland Easement Innovation Project will allow OFT to:
– Understand better how agricultural easements can maximize benefits to farmers to achieve multiple goals of protecting farmland, enabling farm succession, and creating financial advantages for farm businesses and farm families;
– Determine the best messaging and approach to disseminating information about easements and voluntary land protection options to Ontario farmers;
– Develop a range of related outreach materials and learning opportunities; and
– Engage directly with farmers, farm advisors and the agri-business community to raise awareness and support for agricultural easement initiatives.
Since 2009, OFT has pioneered Ontario’s first voluntary agricultural easements with land owners, protecting 9 farms and 900 acres of land. This project will help provide OFT with the information to scale-up the acceptance and use of farmland protection easements throughout the province. Because land trusts and farmland protection easements are new to the farm community in Ontario there is often uncertainty, confusion, and lack of awareness among farmers and farm advisors about land protection options and the financial and legal implications of registering easements on farm properties. Through this project farmers and farm advisors will gain access to straight-forward, practical information about agricultural easements to help them make informed decisions about the future of their land and their farm businesses.
This project will begin in February 2015 by convening a working group of farmers and farm advisors to consider the experience and development of agricultural easements in Ontario to date, seek new ways to leverage easements to directly benefit farm business and succession planning, discuss innovative value-add easement approaches from other jurisdictions, and determine the best ways to share information about agricultural easements with Ontario farmers and farm advisors.
Check here [hotlink to website page] for more details about the project. If you are interested in getting involved in the working group, please contact Krista Long, Agricultural Easement Innovation Project Coordinator at 519-824-4120 ext. 52654.
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.