MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners approved a resolution in support of the Morrow County Soil and Water Conservation District becoming a certified local sponsor for Ohio Department of Agriculture Farmland Preservation program.
Matt Stooksbury, who is the MCSWCD Program Administrator, will administer the Farmland Preservation Program for the county.
Commissioner Warren Davis said that Stooksbury was instrumental in getting the county SWCD as a sponsor for the program after several property owners asked about how they could have their property designated as preserved farmland.
As a local sponsor, the SWCD will work with landowners who want their farmland preserved. Local sponsors will receive funds from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to manage a grant application process in the community using ODA’s online landowner application
Morrow County currently has eight properties designated as preserved farmland, totaling 1,200 acres. Morrow SWCD has been performing yearly monitoring checks on these easements for the past 12 years.
Davis is a member of the State Farmland Preservation Advisory Board. He is the only county commissioner on that board. One of their jobs is to review applications for preserved farmland and then reject or accept them.
Stooksbury said that when farmland is designated as preserved, it is permanently protected and conserved. It can’t be split into lots or developments. No added home sites can be placed on the land.
The designation as preserved farmland stays with the property deed. There is a 40-acre minimum to apply and a 25-acre minimum when land borders on a preserved farmland.
Stooksbury is a Highland High School graduate. He worked for the Morrow SWCD for several years before being promoted to MCSWCD Administrator in 2019 with the retirement of Dan Barker.