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Community Benefits and Costs of Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements

The American Farmland Trust compared the costs and benefits of purchasing easements on two farms, one in PA and one in CT. In CT, the benefits of a $44,000 easement include $327,496 of local goods and services are purchased annually and a total local economic impact of the farm operation of $863,315. The benefits of the $393,330 PA easement include $133,964 annualy spent at local businesses for goods and services for the farm, $804/year in recreation benefits and $2,107 /year in direct sales of farm products.
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  • The American Farmland Trust compared the costs of purchasing easements on two farms, one in Deerfield, Massachusetts and one in Berks County, Pennsylvania, to compare the cost and benefits of purchasing an agricultural conservation easement. The largest economic benefits of the easements were the purchases of local goods and services, employment and product sales.
  • The benefits of the $44,000 Deerfield easement include:
    • $327,496 of local goods and services are purchased annually and a total local economic impact of the farm operation of $863,315.
    • In addition to the eased property, the farmer also leased 37.6 acres and actively farmed them. Without the eased property, which forms the core of the farm’s operations, it is likely that the other acres would not be used for agriculture. Neighbors benefited from the $10,790 in lease payments.
    • The prevention of $2,139 costs in soil loss due to erosion from residential development.
    • A net annual benefit of $82 in property tax revenue to pay for community services.
  • The benefits of the $393,330 Berks easement include:
    • $133,964 spent annually at local businesses for goods and services for the farm.
    • $804/year in recreation benefits.
    • $2,107 in direct sales of farm products.
    • Local residents value their desire to have the farmland as part of their community at $49,466 for a five-year period.

Prepared by the American Farmland Trust

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Last modified by Gayle Diehl

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