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Shelby County Farmland

How Do Agriculture Easements Save Farmland? 

Expressed in simple terms, an agricultural conservation easement on farmland keeps that farmland forever farmland – no industrial, commercial, or residential development permitted. It’s a completely voluntary program where a willing landowner can sell a portion of the property rights on some or all of his/her farm to a willing buyer, an entity determined by the IRS to be qualified to receive and maintain agricultural conservation easements. If a landowner does not wish to participate in the program, he/she can freely not participate.

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Since 1964, Kentucky has lost over 12,000,000 acres of farmland to growing residential, commercial, and industrial uses. The reason that Shelby County experienced much less farmland loss was because Shelby County farmland had so much value as working farmland. In 2017, the combined agricultural production of Spencer, Bullitt, Oldham, and Jefferson Counties was just 68.5% of the agricultural production of Shelby County.

With Shelby County having a high percentage of its farmers over 65 years of age and with the Comprehensive Plan projecting that over 60% of the residential growth in the next twenty years will go outside our cities, proactive steps must be taken to ensure the retention of farmland in Shelby County. Without proactive steps, Shelby County is next for significant farmland losses.


Farmland is being sold off as smaller lots to development at an alarming rate. ​

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Agricultural conservation easements can provide the following: 

  • A way for farmers to cash in part of their 401(k)s (the value of their farms) without leaving their homes. 

  • They may lessen the entry price of starting farmers for farmland. 

  • Donated easements may also be used to reduce tax liabilities. 

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