Every eater relies on farmland every day. Protecting Maine farmland with agricultural easements is necessary to ensure we will have enough land to grow our food in the future.
Agricultural easements are a form of conservation easement, a voluntary, legal document attached to a property’s deed that limits the uses of that land. Yet agricultural easements allow more flexibility than traditional conservation easements, because they are designed to facilitate active use of the land for farming. When we write an agricultural easement, we are always asking, “How does this easement preserve the ability of a farmer to farm?”
If you are interested in protecting your farm property, please contact us. We can help you think through your goals for your land and explore the wide range of protection options. We can help you assess whether a donated easement or a purchased easement is a better fit for you. We can also help you understand and consider how an easement might be structured to best meet your needs and goals.
We not only work with farmland owners interested in protecting their land, but also with experienced farmers seeking more land and beginning farmers looking for their first farm. Because unprotected farmland is often too expensive for farmers, we increasingly protect farmland with an easement in order to make it more affordable for a farmer who wants to buy it. So if you are a farmer looking to buy farmland at a more affordable cost, we may be able to help.
An agricultural easement is a voluntary, legal agreement between a landowner and a non-profit land trust that permanently protects land by restricting it for agricultural production. Learn More.
Depending on the characteristics of your property and your needs as a landowner, donated easements may be the best tool to protect your land. Donated easements are generally easier to execute than purchased easements, and still bring financial benefits. Learn more.
Your farm could be a candidate for a purchased easement, in which you would receive direct compensation for protecting your land. These funds could allow you to re-invest in the farm, pay off debt, or extract some equity before passing the farm along to the next generation. Learn more.
PARTNERSHIPS WITH LOCAL AND REGIONAL LAND TRUSTS
Farmland protection in Maine has grown significantly thanks to the partnerships between landowners and an increasing number of land trusts committed to farming’s future.
If you need to sell a farm that has not been protected, you may want to talk with us first. In select instances, MFT purchases farmland, permanently protects it with an easement, and then resells it to a farmer at its “farm use value.” In this way, our Buy/Protect/Sell program helps farmers get on land they could not otherwise afford. And you can sell your farm knowing that it will remain a farm. Learn more.
MFT provides technical assistance and grants to other land trusts, helping them protect more farmland. Learn more.
Forever Farms celebrates the great work of the many land trusts across this state that are protecting farmland, as well as the stories of farmers who steward protected land. Visit the Forever Farms website.
The Stewardship team is responsible for monitoring and enforcing the terms of each of MFT’s conservation interests—agricultural conservation easements, deed restrictions, and third party interests. Stewards accomplish these goals through regular monitoring visits to conservation properties, detailed recordkeeping, and fostering strong working relationships with landowners.
Contact Us if you are…
A farmland owner considering protecting your property.
A farmer looking to buy protected land.
A landowner wishing to sell farmland that you want to see protected.
A land trust wanting to partner with MFT.
Let’s grow a bright future for farming in Maine, together.
Though critical to the future of farming, Farmland Protection is costly. If you are not a MFT member, please join. If you are already a member, please consider making regular gifts to support this important work.