Boone County Agricultural Conservation Easement & Farmland Protection Commission
The Boone County Agricultural Conservation Easement and Farmland Protection Commission was created in 2006. The Commission was established by the full County Board and consists of seven official members that are supported by staff and others familiar with conservation methods. The seven members are representatives of the County Board, Farm Bureau, Pomona Grange, Conservation District, Soil and Water Conservation District, Planning Commission and a County Resident.
Marion Thornberry, CHM
Jack Ratcliffe, VCHM
Jennifer Becker, Secretary
Although there are existing programs in the County to assist with farmland preservation such as the state Agricultural Areas and the Farmland Protection Program, the Commission’s main purpose is to preserve farmland by obtaining agricultural conservation easements. These easements are permanent and are more enforceable than traditional zoning applications. Due to the fact that the County is not allowed to levy funds to purchase such easements the Commission has had to think outside the box to figure out ways to accomplish their goals.
In late 2009, the County Board approved a text amendment created by the Commission that opened the doors for them to obtain agricultural conservation easements. In what is believed to be the first of its kind, the Commission created a special use category that allows a landowner to construct a dwelling unit for every 60 contiguous acres placed in an approved agricultural conservation easement, regardless of whether or not the land is a Lot of Record.
Although the Commission has already achieved a lot by getting their special use inserted into the Boone County Zoning Ordinance and recording their first agricultural conservation easement in 2009, they are still working on finding other non-traditional ways to further their efforts in preserving farmland in Boone County.
If you would like to know more about the Commission and its efforts please contact staff or feel free to attend their monthly meeting. The Commission's informational brochures are available for viewing here.
- Agricultural Conservation Easements Brochure
- Boone County Farmland Brochure
- 2014 Northern Illinois Farmland Conference
- 2014 Localvore Dinner