Private landowners – and especially family farmers – will be the beneficiaries of legislation
co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Robert E. Latta, R-Bowling Green, to make permanent the federal tax incentive
for donations of conservation easements.
The incentive, which is slated to expire at the end of 2009, has helped Black Swamp Conservancy work with
willing landowners in this community to conserve more than 3,500 acres of agricultural land and natural
areas since it was first enacted in 2006.
H.R. 1831, and its Senate companion, S. 812, will aid in the protection of millions of acres of the
nation’s agricultural lands and open spaces by making permanent an expiring incentive that allows
modest-income landowners to receive significant tax savings for donating conservation easements that
permanently protect important natural or historic resources on their lands.
"Today, Black Swamp Conservancy thanks Rep. Latta for his leadership in co-sponsoring HR 1831 to
make to make permanent an incentive that helped landowners and land trusts protect 535,000 more acres of
important lands across America in 2006 and 2007, than in the two years prior to its enactment,"
said Kevin Joyce, executive director. "Without this measure, landowners across northwest Ohio would
not be stepping forward right now to work with us to conserve their land."
When landowners donate conservation easements to Black Swamp Conservancy, they maintain ownership and
management of their land and can pass the land on to their heirs, while foregoing their rights to
develop the land in the future. A permanent incentive will help more families afford to save their land,
choose conservation over land development, and, by so doing, protect the community’s clean air and
water, scenic and historic landscapes, recreational places and wildlife habitat.
The incentive, which applies to a landowner’s federal income tax, will:
¥ Raise the deduction a donor can take for donating a voluntary conservation easement from 30 percent of
their income in any year to 50 percent;
¥ Allow farmers and ranchers to deduct up to 100 percent of their income; and
¥ Increase the number of years over which a donor can take deductions from to 16 years from six years.
According to the Land Trust Alliance, the national organization that provides a voice for land trusts in
Washington, D.C., more than 100 members of Congress have co-sponsored legislation to permanently extend
the incentive. The legislation is supported by American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s
Beef Association, Ducks Unlimited, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Association of Fish and
Wildlife Agencies, and many conservation organizations.