Land Securement Program
The Ontario Farmland Trust's (OFT) Land Securement Program is the foundation of the organization's work, permanently protecting farmland by working directly with farmers and other rural landowners to ensure their land remains available for agricultural and conservation uses in the long-term.
OFT is the only land trust in Ontario that offers the unique service of protecting the agricultural values of farm properties in addition to the protection of natural features. The voluntary and collaborative approach to land stewardship and conservation provided by OFT presents a refreshing and empowering alternative to farmers and other landowners that feel strongly connected to the land and do not trust Ontario's land use planning system to protect their farms in the future.
By donating land to the Farmland Trust or working with the Trust to establish conservation easement agreements on their properties, landowners can have a direct say in the future use of their land and be given the assurance that their farms will be protected from future housing developments, aggregate pits and quarries, dumps and other non-agricultural uses.
Donating land to the Farmland Trust is the ultimate assurance that your farm will be protected for agriculture and conservation in perpetuity. Land can be donated outright or as a bequest, and charitable tax receipts can be offered by OFT for its value. The Farmland Trust is able to lease out land it owns at affordable rates to new and beginning farmers who often have trouble purchasing productive farmland because of its prohibitive cost. They also need long-term, secure lease arrangements to be successful, which OFT can offer.
By donating your land to the Farmland Trust, you are not only protecting a rich agricultural soil resource for future farming and food production, but you are also supporting the next generation of Ontario farmers!
Farmland Conservation Easements
The most common means of direct land protection OFT pursues with farmers and other landowners is the farmland conservation easement agreement, or agricultural easement. This legal agreement is negotiated between the land trust and the landowner, outlining permitted and restricted uses on the property and ensuring the landowner's long-term conservation wishes are upheld.
The final easement agreement is registered on the property title, preventing future landowners from developing the site for any use other than agriculture and conservation. The Farmland Trust becomes the easement "holder" and is responsible for maintaining a relationship with future landowners, monitoring the property annually for easement conformity and enforcing easement violations if necessary. Charitable tax receipts can be offered to landowners for the easement value "donated" to the Trust. Land or easement donations may be eligible for enhanced tax benefits through Environment Canada's Ecological Gifts program.
For more information on agricultural easements click here