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Kentucky's agricultural district program

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By The Staff

Land is a valuable resource and an asset required for any kind of development, whether it is urban or rural. Yet a careful balance must be encouraged whereby our most productive lands are available for agricultural use.

Kentucky's General Assembly, in 1928 passed the Agricultural District Law (Statute 262.850) which permits a landowner or group of landowners with 250 acres or more to petition the local conservation district to include their land in an agricultural district. The petition is then forwarded to the Kentucky Soil and Water Commission for approval or denial.

The purpose of the program is to provide a means of protection and enhancement to agriculture as an important and valuable natural resource and to minimize the conversion of Kentucky's best agricultural land to nonfarm use.

Participation Benefits to Enrolled Landowners:

• Land can not be annexed. If it is condemned by a state agency the agency must mitigate the impact on the conversion of that land to non-farm use.

• Land is eligible for differential assessment by Property Valuation Administrators.

• Deferment of paying the assessed cost against their land for the extension of water lines across the property, as long as it remains enrolled.

• Higher Ranking when applying for State Cost Share Programs

• Higher ranking in the review process of PACE Program

Some landowners have been enrolled in the program since 1989 and this large contingent of acres is being amended annually.

Henry County, as of March 2008 has certified or have petitions pending for certification with Kentucky Soil and Water Commission for over 16,000 acres representing 19 agricultural districts. The largest of these is in the Pleasureville-Bethlehem area with 3306 acres. One other district, located in the Lacie area has 2431 acres. Every five years the districts must be recertified, so some are due in 2008. According to the Conservation District website, Henry County has more acreage in the program than any other county in Kentucky

Kentucky has been a national leader in the protection of its land resources and promoting the economic importance of its agricultural land base and the family farms across the state. Establishing a new Agricultural District or joining an existing one by Amendment can have only positive benefits for you and your land.

If you are interested, contact the Henry County Conservation District office and obtain a petition form and all the information you need to implement this process. District phone number is 502-845-2890. If you prefer, call the Kentucky Division of Conservation in Frankfort at 502-564-3080.