May 2005 Two Knox County Farms Selected for Ag Easements
McPhail, Dudgeon farms selected to Ohio ag program
By JOHN BOYCE
News Staff Reporter
GAMBIER -- Two local farms have. been selected for Clean Ohio agricultural Easement Purchase Program easements.
Lee McPhail, Gambier, applied for an agricultural easement for 1.64.61 acres; and Charles Dudgeon, Gambier. applied for the easement for 129.59 acres. They are the second and third Knox County farms to be selected in the history of Ohio's Agricultural Easement Purchase Program, according to Doug Givens, managing director, Philander Chase Corp.
"Knox County residents should feel proud since we got two of the only 16 farms selected this year from among the 168 applications sent in from 27 Ohio counties," Givens said. "Lots of farmers here and the county have been trying for these easements, and a lot of people worked very hard to get the applications in to the state."
The Knox County Board of Commissioners contributed $110,000 in local match funds to help accrue application points for the Knox County farmlands, according to Commissioner Allen Stockberger.
"I am pleased to see Knox County had two of the 16 selected," Stockberger said. "The Ag Easement Purchase Program is not the total answer to the preservation of green space here in the county, but. it is a step in the right direction."
The program supports the permanent preservation of Ohio's farmland and is part of Gov. Taft's Clean Ohio initiative to protect rural greenfields and reclaim brownfields.
"Since the inception of our program in 2002, we have received 1,180 applications from landowners in 61 counties, requesting funding for the preservation of approximately 191,415 acres of productive agricultural land," said Fred L. Dailey. director, Ohio Department of Agriculture, in a written release. "This sends a clear message that farmers, citizens, and local officials from across the state continue to have a strong desire to preserve productive farmland in their communities."
The easement purchase offers are currently pending with the 16 selected Ohio landowners.
McPhail's farm is one of Ohio's Century Farms at 177 years old. According to McPhail, President John Adams gave 4,000 acres to a Samuel Campbell, and McPhail's great-great-grandfather, Peter Horn, bought farmland from Campbell in 1827.
"I'd like to thank Doug Givens and the Philander Chase Corp. for all their efforts in the Ohio Ag Easement Purchase Program," McPhail said. "I'm honored to have been selected for one of the easements, but I'm sad at the same time that the state of the agricultural economy is such that it doesn't support natural farmland preservation - farmers buying up more land for more farming."
Dudgeon was pleased his farm was selected.
"I feel very proud and honored and hope it will encourage others to do the same," Dudgeon said. "Without farmland out in the countryside, there is no countryside. Our family has been in the community for 200 years, and I hope at least a piece of our farm remains in the community for the next 2,000."