Purchase of Development Rights Program is Unfunded in Proposed FY19 Budget

For first time since its inception, the proposed FY19 budget does not include funding the Purchase of Development Rights Program.

The PDR program was created in 1999 as part of a multi-faceted strategy to ensure the continued viability and strength of our unique rural assets. It is the cornerstone of our Rural Land Management Plan and a national model.

The goal of the program is to preserve 50,000 acres of the best agricultural land for future agricultural use. To date 261 farms have been permanently protected, totaling nearly 30,000 acres. Agriculture is central to our community’s economic health, quality of life, and identity, and conservation easements offer the best protection of fertile soils, farmland, and natural areas.

The PDR program has received funding every year since its creation. It typically receives $1 – 2 million annually from the city’s general fund to purchase easements. This represents less than 1% of the overall city budget.

Yet, our Rural Service Area contributes so much to our economy and quality life and more than pays for itself.

Agriculture’s Economic Impact on Fayette County Rural Land Management Plan

The rationale for the lack of funding is that there is a backlog of pending applications and sufficient funds available to process those applications as well as new applications that are submitted in FY19.

While we understand the rationale, we are very concerned about the continued backlog and potential precedent of not providing funding.

As Kentucky and our nation continue to lose farmland at an alarming rate, recommitment to the goals of the PDR program are more important than ever.

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