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Oregon Looking At Conservation Easements To Protect Farmland

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Oregon is looking to protect farmland by the use of conservation easements. The voluntary agreement between a land owner and a land trust or government agency limits the use of land for conservation purposes.

Conservation easements are popular in other states to protect farming and could give Oregon a strong tool to keep farms from disappearing. Tom Salazer is General Manager of the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District. He says the state should look at easements to protect farm land on a permanent basis.

Salazer: "We love our land in Oregon and it's important to our culture, it's important to our way of life, it's important to our economy. Conservation districts and land trusts working together have an opportunity, I think, to really help shape future of development and place an importance on working lands that heretofore we have not done."

A panel of experts made their case before the State Board of Agriculture last week. Oregon currently has 460 easements protecting more than 150 thousand acres.

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