The Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP) provides funding
to assist landowners and communities in preserving Ohio's farmland, our most vital resource.
Ohio's fertile soils have always been essential to feeding a growing population, and are
also called upon to meet a booming demand for renewable energy. At the same time, nearby
competing land uses often exert incredible pressures upon these farms to convert to non-agricultural
Farmland protection activities not only ensure that the scenic views and heritage of Ohio's
countryside are maintained for future generations, but they also benefit our environment and
provide critical habitat for local wildlife populations. The Clean Ohio program also helps
family farms transition to the next generation and protects the economic foundation of Ohio's
In early 2011, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) proposed localizing the selection of
easements under AEPP. All previous funding rounds featured a funding round based on a centralized
AEPP application. Under the LAEPP, ODA will certify land trusts, local governments and soil and
water conservation districts to partner with the department to manage a local AEPP program to
purchase agricultural easements from willing landowners.
After input from the Technical Committee and the Ohio Farmland Preservation Advisory Board, changes
to Ohio Administrative Code Section 901 were submitted and went into effect in January 2013.
Under the Clean Ohio Local Agricultural Easement Purchase Program (LAEPP), counties,
townships, soil and water conservation districts, and land trusts/non profits apply
to be funded and hold landowner application periods in the areas they serve.
Each year the Office of Farmland Preservation invites local sponsors and other interested
members of the farmland preservation community to assist in reviewing the past year's
Clean Ohio AEPP application. The purpose of the meeting is two-fold:
- To collect feedback on the application process, mechanics and logistics.
- For ODA to provide feedback to Local Sponsors on the submitted applications including
helpful hints and common mistakes.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture and its Certified Local Sponsors partner with the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) on many agricultural
easements that are purchased through the Clean Ohio LAEPP. The FRPP provides matching funds to help
purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranch land in agricultural uses. Working
through existing programs, USDA provides up to 50 percent of the fair market easement value of the
If a farm is selected for Clean Ohio LAEPP funding, within the Notice of Selection it will outline that
ODA or the Certified Local Sponsor may submit the landowner's application to the FRPP for partial
reimbursement. If this occurs, the landowner will need to fulfill the FRPP program requirements.
To review more information on the FRPP including eligibility requirements and guidelines, visit the
FRPP Program's Ohio Website.
Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)
NRCS has recently requested that ODA also sign onto the Cooperative Agreements between local partners and
NRCS for farms in which ODA is a grantee. Accordingly, ODA has drafted a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which
provides that in the event the Local Sponsor causes any sort of injury or otherwise violates the Cooperative
Agreement, the Local Sponsor will protect ODA from any claims made by NRCS against ODA due to the Local Sponsor's
acts. The MOA also sets out the terms of this arrangement to clarify that it is ODA's intent to give up its right
of reimbursement under FRPP to the Local Sponsor in exchange for the Local Sponsor's services in obtaining the
agricultural easement, that the Local Sponsor ensures that ODA is named as a grantee on the agricultural easement,
and that the funds received by the Local Sponsor will be used to further farmland preservation purposes.
In 2013, Certified Local Sponsors participating in FRPP are required to sign and return the MOA.