What is Shelby Area Rural Conservation (SARC)?


SARC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that can hold agricultural conservation easements through voluntary actions of landowners. It was formed with pro bono legal services provided by the Louisville office of Stoll Keenon Ogden. It serves Shelby, Henry, Oldham, Spencer, Franklin, Jefferson, and Anderson Counties as a regional conservation land trust.


What is an Agricultural Conservation Easement?


A conservation easement is a power invested in a qualified private land conservation organization or government to constrain, as to a specified land area, the exercise of rights otherwise held by a landowner so as to achieve certain conservation purposes. It is an interest in real property established voluntarily by agreement between a landowner and land trust or unit of government. The conservation easement "runs with the land," meaning it is applicable to both present and future owners of the land. As with other real property interests, the grant of conservation easement is recorded in the local county clerk’s office; the grant becomes a part of the chain of title for the property in perpetuity. (Source:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_easement)


Why does SARC hold and maintain easements?


Agricultural Land Easements protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. Land protected by agricultural land easements provides additional public benefits, including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space. (Source: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/easements/acep/) Donated easements may have tax incentives.

                               Shelby Area Rural Conservation

P.O. Box 985

Shelbyville, KY 40066-0985





How does Kentucky compare to other states in farmland conservation easements?


Kentucky trails other states that have state programs to retain farmland. See the chart below for the acres that some other states had in their programs in 2013. (Source: American Farmland Trust)


How are we doing in Shelby County?


In the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Shelby County alone had $76,800,000 of sales in agricultural products. In Shelby County, agriculture is a huge part of the economy and is part of what the county is known for. Land is the prime resource for agriculture; however, Shelby County only has 4,285 acres in conservation easements. An agricultural conservation easement is a very effective way to maintain the viability of farming in the seven county area. Our community benefits from farmland. Wildlife habitat and historic sites can also be preserved.


Shelby County has a good start in retaining farmland, but a lot remains to be done. The Kentucky Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) program has not been actively obtaining easements in Shelby County since 2004. As evidenced on the map, there is wide spread interest throughout the county to retain our farmland with agricultural conservation easements. With the average age of Shelby County farmers being over 62 years and since we have lost 5945 acres of farmland between 2007 and 2012 (Source: Census of Agriculture 2007 & 2012), there is an immediate and pressing need to conserve our farmland for future generations and maintain our national food security.

As seen in the bar graph below, Shelby County has not experienced the large reduction in farmland that some of the surrounding counties have. Without planning and proactive measures, Shelby County can suffer the loss of regionally and nationally important farmlands.


Farmland Pays Its Own Way


To see the Cost of Community Services Study for Shelby County complete report, click this link: COCS.


Survey says:


Shelby Area Rural Conservation, with financial support from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, the Shelby County Farm Bureau, and the Shelby County Conservation District, employed the Matrix Group to survey Shelby County residents to learn what they think concerning farmland in Shelby County. Agriculture, farmland, and farmers were viewed very favorably. To see the complete report, click: Perception Study of Shelby County Residents Concerning Rural Land & Agriculture.


In the upper right hand of the above photo, is some of the farmland in the Kentucky Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE) program.


Below, the farmland of the above photo is within the purple oval. 


The farmland below is in the Kentucky PACE program. It is inside the blue oval in the above map. Note the new residential houses in the background.



How you can help save more farmland?


A locally funded program to purchase agricultural conservation easements can get one-to-one federal matching dollars. Your support in obtaining local funding would be invaluable to the effort. To help with saving farmland, see SARC contact information in the following paragraph. Donations to SARC are tax deductible.



Learn more about partnering with SARC and donating a easement on your property:


Contact SARC at sarc2065@gmail.com, phone 502-647-2726, or SARC, PO Box 985, Shelbyville, KY 40066-0985. Visit SARC on the web at: http://www.shelbyarearuralconservation.org.


Print the application form for donating a conservation easement for farmland, wildlife habitat, woodland, historic property, and open space, click Donation Easement Application.