Agricultural Stewardship AssociationAgricultural Stewardship Association

Land Conservation


There are many good reasons to consider conserving your land, and there are many options available for you to go about it.

Conserving your property can bring significant benefits to you as well as long-term benefits to the whole community.

ASA offers several options to landowners who are interested in conserving their land for future agricultural and forestry uses. In addition to the landowner’s own conservation goals, there are other factors affecting which option may be available. These include the property’s physical features, its conservation attributes and location, and funding availability. ASA evaluates each potential project according to specific conservation criteria, in addition to whether the property lies within an area identified in our Farmland Conservation Plan (please email asa@agstewardship.org for a copy).

In some cases, you may be entitled to receive tax relief at the state and federal level or, if eligible, you could receive funds for conserving your land.

For the majority of landowners, the reason to conserve comes down to a simple but deep love and appreciation for the land and a desire to care for it beyond their lifetime.

To learn more about conserving your land, please contact Chris Krahling.


Glossary of Terms

The estimated fair market value of a property or conservation easement, provided in a detailed report prepared by a professional appraiser. A “qualified” appraisal substantiates the value of donated property or easement and meets Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements.

Bargain Sale
The sale of a property or easement to a qualified organization for an amount less than the appraised fair market value.

Conservation Easement
A legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization that restricts future activities on the land to protect its conservation values.

Conservation Easement Value
The difference in appraised value between the property without a conservation easement (the “before” value) and the same property with a conservation easement (the “after” value). The value refers to land only, not residences and structures.

Donation of Land
A property that is donated in fee simple (meaning that the property in question is legally held by the seller or donor) to the land trust. The property may be held by the land conservancy, sold subject to a conservation easement, or sold with no conservation easement. If the property is sold, the funds will be used by the land trust to further its mission.

Fair Market Value
In real estate, the price that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for a property offered for sale on the open market when both have reasonable knowledge of all relevant facts and are not under undue pressure to buy or sell.

The inspection of an easement property to check for compliance with the conservation easement terms. Conserved properties are visited on a regular basis, at least annually, by ASA staff.

Purchase of Development Rights (PDR)
The purchase of land use rights in the form of a conservation easement.

Retained Life Estate

You may deed real estate to ASA subject to one or more individuals retaining a "life interest" in the property. Under this irrevocable arrangement, "life tenants" retain full use of the property, and donors receive a significant income tax deduction.

All the activities performed by the land trust to ensure that its obligations as easement holder are upheld. Some examples include monitoring conserved properties, assisting easement landowners with questions, handling notice and approval requests by landowners, enforcing the terms of the easement, building landowner relationships, and meeting with new owners who purchase conserved lands.

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