Thanks to recent laws passed by the State General Assembly, Georgia now has some of the strongest financial incentives for land conservation in the United States. Owners of all different types of land —- from family farms to mountain retreats — are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars by agreeing to protect their land from development.
The device that landowners are using is known as a land conservation easement. In addition to acting as a permanent agreement that the land may never be used for development, the easement also protects conservation values on the property. Once the landowner enters into this contract, a State of Georgia tax credit is created, which can be as much as $250,000 per individual. The credit may be used to pay the landowners state taxes or it may be sold for cash.
We are seeing a real surge in people protecting their family land and putting money in their pocket at the same time. Owners really love it because they get to keep their land — using it as they always have while getting paid for the development rights many of them would never use anyway. It’s a win-win.
The Conservancy has assisted hundreds of landowners throughout the state, protecting thousands of acres each year. Conservancy staff members provide assistance to landowners, evaluating their land for state and federal conservation opportunities.
I am happy to talk to any landowner, anytime. We encourage anyone interested in seeing whether they can take advantage of this great opportunity to contact us.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can benefit from conserving your properties, email email@example.com or call (404) 876-2900.
The Georgia Conservancy was founded in 1967 to protect Georgia’s natural resources for present and future generations by advocating sound environmental policies, advancing sustainable growth practices and facilitating common-ground solutions to environmental challenges. For more information, visit our website at www.georgiaconservancy.org.
Fuller Callaway is Land Conservation Specialist at the Georgia Conservancy.