The Pocahontas County Farmland Protection Board (PCFPB) recently acquired two conservation easements under the West Virginia Voluntary Farmland Protection Act.
On November 18, 2019, an easement was acquired from Susan and Shannon Hanley. The easement protects 289 acres in the Little Levels District. This is the second parcel of land placed into easement by the Hanleys. In total, they have protected 382 acres. Mr. Hanley said farmland for livestock is precious.
“We started with sheep, and we kept cattle and still do,” he said, “but horses have kept this farm alive… We want to ensure that it will stay conserved as farmland.”
The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) partnered with the PCFPB to purchase development rights on this farm with the intent of keeping its productive farmland in agricultural use and to keep it from being subdivided.
On December 13, 2019, an easement was acquired from the Underwood family. The easement protects 145 acres of land in the Huntersville District, affectionately known to the family as “Hilla Villa.” Mr. Underwood stated that the farm has been in the family for several generations.
“We want to preserve this farm for the next generation and to preserve this way of life,” he said. “Once you get rid of this [the farm] it’s gone.”
The Deed of Conservation Easement, which was agreed to by all parties, outlines the terms, conditions and restrictions on the property, and protects the landowners and the grantees. PCFPB, as the grantee under the Deed of Conservation Easement, agrees to protect the property according to its mandate and the desires of the property owner as spelled out in the easement.
The Pocahontas County Commission adopted a resolution creating the Farmland Protection Board in May of 2004. Since the inception of the program more than 2,900 acres have been placed under conservation easement in Pocahontas County. Of the 2,900 acres, more than 1,000 acres were donated. The purpose of the Farmland Protection Program is to preserve land for farm use. To learn more about this program visit our website: pocahontas.wvfp.org