Eligibility Requirements

Easement Donation Requirements

Donated conservation easement offers will be considered on an individual basis. They do not necessarily have to meet the specifications of purchased easements.

Easement Purchase Requirements

Easement purchase offers must meet the following requirements to be considered.

  1.  The property must be located in Hampshire County
  2. The property is able to be developed, according to federal, state, and local regulations. A Confirmation letter from the County Planner is required.
  3. The property owner is willing to sign a two-year option agreement, binding the land owner to sell the conservation easement to the Hampshire County Farmland Protection Board if the agreed-upon funds are raised within two years to purchase the easement.
  4. No commercial or industrial structures are located on the parcel other than limited agricultural and home-based business buildings
  5. Clear title to the property is established
  6. The property is free of any developmental oil or gas leases or mineral extraction leases. (Non-developmental oil or gas leases may be permitted but only when a lease is intact or mineral rights are severed prior to the easement closing.)
  7. Mineral rights are owned by the surface owner or, if severed, are determined by the HCFPB not to threaten the Conservation Easement.
  8. The property contains no buried fuel tanks. (tanks can be removed)
  9. The application is signed by the property owners and turned in on or before the deadline. (late applications cannot be accepted for the current round of funding but may be considered for other future rounds)
  10. The application clearly states an offering price that is equal to or less than the HCFPB’s current cap of $1,800 per acre.

Additional requirements to qualify for federal funding for easement purchases

  1. The offering price must be less than or equal to the Conservation Easement value determined by a certified yellow book appraisal done by a qualified conservation appraiser.
  2. Secured debt on the property must be subordinated by the lender.
  3. The property offered for easement purchase must be 50% or more prime, unique, state important, or locally important soils.
  4. The property offered for easement must be 34% or more cropland, pastureland, or grassland.
  5. Purchases of Conservation Easements with State and Federal funds require that existing residential structures be surveyed in a 2 acre envelope. Additional two acre residential sites can be reserved, but those acres will not be funded.