Farmland Protection Board seeks more funds to protect land

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HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - Harrison County Commissioners will consider a request from the county's Farmland Protection Board to help fund easement purchases.

The board is seeking an additional fee to the property transfer tax. The county currently receives $2.20 for each property transfer.

The funds would be used to acquire easements for properties that owners want to preserve as farmland forever.

"If we can keep some of that land in agriculture use, there are young people who would like to have a farm and they just simply can't afford to buy it," said Billy Suan, a member of the board. "And with this program, it should help them."

Property owners who are approved for farmland protection would be compensated, based on the appraised value of the land.

"Once you start the program, you're going to have so many landowners applying that you will not to be able to fund all of them in any given year," said Lavonne Paden, director of the state Agricultural Land Protection Authority. "So those landowners will keep applying, generally, year after year until they can get funded."

Commission will bring up the request again at next week's meeting. Meanwhile, Commissioner David Hinkle says there are several factors to take into account when coming to a decision on this, including the impact on the taxpayers. That conversation is in the video above.