Gov. John Carney on Tuesday announced that more than 134,000 acres of Delaware farmland have been permanently preserved. Each year, the Delaware Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation makes selections for preservation, with support from federal, state and county governments.
“Since the start of my administration, I have placed a high priority on preserving Delaware’s farmland so that agriculture will continue to be our state’s number one industry,” said Carney. “With the purchase of the development rights of 111 farms totaling 9,382 acres, we have successfully preserved 25 percent of Delaware’s farmland.”
All three counties supported the effort, funding the preservation of six farms in New Castle County, 39 in Kent County, and 66 in Sussex County.
“Over the life of the program, landowners have donated, on average, 58 percent of their development rights value – that is they received 42 cents on the dollar of their farm’s development rights value to preserve their farm,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The average discount (donation) for Round 23 is 66 percent. This is a great investment not only for agriculture but all Delawareans.”
The Foundation does not own the land, but rather purchases landowners’ development rights and places a permanent agricultural conservation easement on the property. Landowners must first voluntarily enroll their farm into a 10-year preservation district before they can sell an easement.
In addition to over 134,000 acres in permanent easements, Delaware’s Aglands Preservation Program has over 174,000 acres of land enrolled in farmland preservation districts.