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Delaware Aglands Foundation votes to extend district enrollment for next round

Delaware News Desk

The Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation voted to extend district enrollment until Dec. 31 to any agricultural landowners who want to preserve their farms.

These landowners will have the opportunity to apply for Round 25 in 2021. Before the landowner can submit a bid to sell an easement, the farm must be enrolled in a preservation district.

According to the Delaware AgLands Preservation Program, 201 landowners have submitted bids to sell development rights in the past two years. Of the bids submitted, the foundation accepted 85% for easement purchase. The foundation uses an impartial discount ranking system that maximizes benefits for the taxpayer. Bids are ranked and selected using the funding available for each year.

If a landowner’s bid is selected for easement, the foundation does not own the land, but rather purchases the landowner’s development rights. Then a permanent agricultural conservation easement is placed on the property.

“Landowners who sell their development rights benefit by pulling value out of their land and receiving a payment now,” said Aglands Preservation Program Administrator Jimmy Kroon. “This money can be reinvested in the farm operation or used to purchase more cropland. On the other hand, some farmers preserve their farmland before passing it onto the next generation to ensure it will be farmed for the long run."

Delaware's statewide program made its first round of easement purchases in 1996 and has since preserved 22% of New Castle County farmland, 39% of Kent County farmland and 19% of Sussex County farmland.

For more, visit agriculture.delaware.gov or call 698-4530.

The Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation voted to extend district enrollment until Dec. 31 to any agricultural landowners who want to preserve their farms.