The commissioners approved Monday, April 14 the next set of applicants in the county’s agricultural easement purchase program for 2014, as recommended by Julia Cumming, of the soil and water district.
Cumming recommended adding to the list of eligible farms the names of Dale Sheridan, 179 acres, and Pat and Larry Kelly, 150 acres. Cumming said both farms have applied and slipped under today’s (Tuesday) date as deadline.
Those two farms would also be on the list for funding from Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the federal program. Commissioners have at their discretion $665,000 of ODA funds to be used within the program so acreage could be set aside for agricultural use only and never ever be used for anything else.
Once the 2014 list of applicants was finalized with the aforementioned additions, Cumming drew the commissioners’ attention to 2013’s applicants for the ag easement purchase program.
The reason for looking back to the 2013 list is at that time the county was not yet sure which agency would be their federal partner. That partner has been determined to be the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), which will provide up to $645,000 for ag easement purchase.
“It’s a long process,” Cumming said. “We’re applying to different sources of funding and everyone has their own rules.”
Funding from NRCS will provide 50 percent of the land’s value. That value is established through an appraisal, which is performed by an approved appraiser. That appraiser is hired by commissioners and then the landowner reimburses the commission.
At the top of the list is the Hunter farm.
Cumming said Bob Hunter has 10 days from the 14th to decide to go with the 2013 funding or opt for 2014. He is not permitted to do both.
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.